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J Acoust Soc Am. 1992 Nov;92(5):2662-82.

Evidence for two discrete sources of 2f1-f2 distortion-product otoacoustic emission in rabbit. II: Differential physiological vulnerability.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology (M-805), University of Miami, Florida 33101.


In a previous report, it was shown that, in normal rabbit ears, the amplitude and phase of 2f1-f2 distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) elicited by low-level (< 60-70 dB SPL) stimuli display a differential dependence on stimulus parameters to those evoked by high-level (> 60-70 dB SPL) stimuli, indicating differences in the underlying generation mechanisms. In the present study, the physiological vulnerability of DPOAEs in each of the two 2f1-f2 DPOAE-response regions identified on the basis of differential parametric properties, was characterized. Thus emissions evoked using stimulus levels from 45-75 dB SPL were measured over time upon: (1) induction of lethal anoxia, (2) acute injection of ethacrynic acid, and (3) acute injection of ethacrynic acid 2 h after a single administration of gentamicin. The DPOAEs evoked by low-level stimuli (45 dB SPL) were abolished within 3-4 min of induction of anoxia, whereas DPOAEs evoked by high-level stimuli (75 dB SPL) were unchanged in this period. The high-level emissions decreased with a complex time course postmortem, and demonstrated behaviors, including evidence of susceptibility to fatigue, suggesting a dependence upon a cochlear energy supply. Low-level DPOAEs could be temporarily abolished, with complete recovery, by an acute administration of ethacrynic acid that had little effect on high-level DPOAEs. Treatment with the gentamicin and ethacrynic-acid combination, which would be expected to produce widespread hair-cell damage, eliminated low-level DPOAEs, and greatly reduced high-level emissions. In combination with previously published data, these findings strongly suggest that low- and high-level 2f1-f2 DPOAEs arise from discrete sources. The data are consistent with the proposal that the low-level DPOAE source is an active, micromechanical process, but suggest that the proposed origin of high-level DPOAEs exclusively in the passive macromechanics of the cochlear partition may be incorrect. The elimination of both low- and high-level DPOAEs revealed the presence of a third, residual 2f1-f2 DPOAE component, approximately 75-80 dB below the stimulus-tone levels, that may reflect the true passive-distortion response of the cochlea.

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