Modeling cochlear dynamics: Interrelation between cochlea mechanics and psychoacoustics

Bastian Epp, Jesko L Verhey, Manfred Mauermann

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A model of the cochlea was used to bridge the gap between model approaches commonly used to investigate phenomena related to otoacoustic emissions and more filter-based model approaches often used in psychoacoustics. In the present study, a nonlinear and active one-dimensional transmission line model was developed that accounts for several aspects of physiological data with a single fixed parameter set. The model shows plausible excitation patterns and an input-output function similar to the linear-compressive-linear function as hypothesized in psychoacoustics. The model shows realistic results in a two-tone suppression paradigm and a plausible growth function of the 2f1-f2 component of distortion product otoacoustic emissions. Finestructure was found in simulated stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emissions (SFOAE) with realistic levels and rapid phase rotation. A plausible “threshold in quiet” including finestructure and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAE) could be simulated. It is further shown that psychoacoustical data of modulation detection near threshold can be explained by the mechanical dynamics of the modeled healthy cochlea. It is discussed that such a model can be used to investigate the representation of acoustic signals in healthy and impaired cochleae at this early stage of the auditory pathway for both, physiological as well as psychoacoustical paradigms.
Keyword: Physiological models,Ear,Acoustic signal processing,Otoacoustic emissions,Neurophysiology
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1870-1883
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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