The level-dependent component of the latency of human auditory brainstem responses (ABR) to tonebursts decreases by about 38% for every 20-dB increase in stimulus level over a wide range of both frequency and level [Neely, Norton, Gorga, and Jesteadt (1998). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 31, 87-97]. This level-dependence has now been simulated in an active, nonlinear, transmission-line model of cochlear mechanics combined with an adaptation stage. The micromechanics in this model are similar to previous models except that a dual role is proposed for the tectorial membrane (TM): (1) passive sharpening the tuning of sensory-cell inputs (relative to basilar-membrane vibrations) and (2) providing an optimal phase shift (relative to basilar-membrane vibrations) of outer-hair-cell feedback forces, so that amplification is restricted to a limited range of frequencies. The adaptation stage, which represents synaptic adaptation of neural signals, contributes to the latency level-dependence more at low frequencies than at high frequencies. Compression in this model spans the range of audible sound levels with a compression ratio of about 2:1. With further development, the proposed model of cochlear micromechanics could be useful both (1) as a front-end to functional models of the auditory system and (2) as a foundation for understanding the physiological basis of cochlear amplification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics