As a by-product of nonlinear amplification in the cochlea, the inner ear emits sound waves in response to two tones with different frequencies. These sound waves are measurable in the ear canal as distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs). DPOAEs putatively consist of two components emerging at different locations in the cochlea. Wave interference between the two components limits the accuracy of DPOAEs as a noninvasive measure of cochlear function. Using short stimulus pulses instead of continuous stimuli, the two DPOAE components can be separated in the time domain due to their different latencies. The present work utilizes a nonlinear hydrodynamic cochlea model to simulate short-pulse DPOAEs in the time domain. When adding irregularities to the mechanical parameters of the model, the simulated DPOAE signals show two distinguishable components and long-lasting beat tones, similar to band-pass filtered experimental data from normal-hearing human subjects. The model results suggest that the beat tones can occur solely due to interference of the coherent-reflection component with the fading nonlinear-distortion component.
©2017 Dennis Zelle et al., published by De Gruyter
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