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J Acoust Soc Am. 2008 Mar;123(3):1479-94. doi: 10.1121/1.2828209.

Two-tone suppression of stimulus frequency otoacoustic emissions.

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Boys Town National Research Hospital, 555 North 30th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68131, USA.


Stimulus frequency otoacoustic emissions (SFOAEs) measured using a suppressor tone in human ears are analogous to two-tone suppression responses measured mechanically and neurally in mammalian cochleae. SFOAE suppression was measured in 24 normal-hearing adults at octave frequencies (f(p)=0.5-8.0 kHz) over a 40 dB range of probe levels (L(p)). Suppressor frequencies (f(s)) ranged from -2.0 to 0.7 octaves re: f(p), and suppressor levels ranged from just detectable suppression to full suppression. The lowest suppression thresholds occurred for "best" f(s) slightly higher than f(p). SFOAE growth of suppression (GOS) had slopes close to one at frequencies much lower than best f(s), and shallow slopes near best f(s), which indicated compressive growth close to 0.3 dBdB. Suppression tuning curves constructed from GOS functions were well defined at 1, 2, and 4 kHz, but less so at 0.5 and 8.0 kHz. Tuning was sharper at lower L(p) with an equivalent rectangular bandwidth similar to that reported behaviorally for simultaneous masking. The tip-to-tail difference assessed cochlear gain, increasing with decreasing L(p) and increasing f(p) at the lowest L(p) from 32 to 45 dB for f(p) from 1 to 4 kHz. SFOAE suppression provides a noninvasive measure of the saturating nonlinearities associated with cochlear amplification on the basilar membrane.

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