Voluntary contraction of middle ear muscles: Effects on input impedance, energy reflectance and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions

Edward M. Burns, Wendy A. Harrison, Jay C. Bulen, Douglas H. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two types of measurements were performed on a subject able to voluntarily contract her middle ear muscles (MEM). First, wideband measurements (0-11 kHz) of middle ear input impedance and energy reflectance were obtained when the subject was relaxed and when she contracted her MEM. The changes in impedance observed with voluntary MEM contraction were similar to those reported in the literature for acoustically-elicited MEM contractions. The energy reflectance increased for frequencies below about 4 kHz. Second, the effects of voluntary MEM contraction on the frequencies and levels of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) were measured and compared to effects evoked by contralateral acoustic stimulation. Effects on SOAEs appear to be a more sensitive indicator of MEM activity than changes in impedance, and the effects due to voluntary MEM contraction were qualitatively similar to those evoked by contralateral acoustic stimulation. These results suggest that in subjects with normally-functioning middle ears, only some effects on otoacoustic emissions caused by contralateral stimuli whose levels are below the contralateral acoustic reflex threshold can be unequivocally attributed to the action of cochlear efferents. The temporal aspects of SOAE frequency shifts caused by voluntary contraction of MEM show that voluntary contraction fatigues rapidly over a time period of tens of seconds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalHearing Research
Volume67
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1993

Keywords

  • Middle ear muscles
  • Otoacoustic emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems

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