Effects of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions on frequency discrimination

Rói Hansen, Sébastien Santurette, Sarah Verhulst

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    When an external tone is presented in proximity to the frequency of a spontaneous otoacoustic emission (SOAE), the SOAE typically synchronizes to the external tone, a phenomenon known as "entrainment". As the tone moves further away from the SOAE frequency, beating patterns between the SOAE and the pure tone occur (Long, Hear. Res. 119, 1998). This study investigated perceptual consequences of SOAE beating and entrainment on the frequency difference limen (FDL), which has been found to improve near an SOAE. SOAE entrainment patterns were obtained for six subjects with a strong SOAE in the ipsilateral ear and no SOAE in the corresponding frequency range of the contralateral ear. Hearing thresholds and FDLs were measured ipsi- and contralaterally for nine frequencies covering the entrainment and beating regions of the SOAE. FDLs systematically improved in the entrainment region, worsened when beating occurred, and improved again for frequencies further away from the SOAE. No improvement in FDL was found in any of the contralateral ears tested, suggesting that the effect is of peripheral, rather than of central, origin. The results contradict an earlier hypothesis stating that FDL performance near SOAE frequencies is governed by a central oversensitivity to the SOAE frequency.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMeetings on Acoustics. Proceedings
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event21st International Congress on Acoustics - Montreal, Canada
    Duration: 2 Jun 20137 Jun 2013
    Conference number: 21


    Conference21st International Congress on Acoustics
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    Session 3aPP: Auditory Physiology and Modeling (Poster Session)


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