Distortion-product otoacoustic emission input/output characteristics in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired human ears.

Stephen T. Neely, Tiffany A. Johnson, Judy Kopun, Darcia M. Dierking, Michael P. Gorga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Distortion-product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) input/output (I/O) functions were measured in 322 ears of 176 subjects at as many as 8 f(2) frequencies per ear for a total of 1779 I/O functions. The f(2) frequencies ranged from 0.7 to 8 kHz in half-octave steps. Behavioral thresholds (BTs) at the f(2) frequencies ranged from -5 to 60 dB hearing loss (HL). Both linear-pressure and nonlinear, two-slope functions were fitted to the data. The two-slope function describes I/O compression as output-controlled self-suppression. Most I/O functions (96%) were better fitted by the two-slope method. DPOAE thresholds based on each method were used to predict BTs. Compared to estimates based on linear-pressure functions, individual BTs predicted from DPOAE thresholds based on the two-slope model had lower residual error and accounted for more variance. Another advantage of the two-slope method is that it provides an estimate of response growth rate (RGR) that is not tied to threshold. At all frequencies, the median low-level RGR (across I/O functions of the same f(2) and BT) usually increased as BT increased, while high-level compression decreased. The observed characteristics of DPOAE I/O functions are consistent with the loss of cochlear compression that is typically associated with mild-to-moderate HL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-738
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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