A mechanism for simultaneous suppression of tone burst-evoked otoacoustic emissions

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Abstract

Tone burst-evoked otoacoustic emission (TBOAE) components in response to a 1 kHz tone burst are suppressed by the simultaneous presence of tone bursts at higher frequencies. To date, the underlying cause of this “simultaneous suppression” of TBOAEs is unclear. This paper describes a potential mechanism based on local nonlinear interactions between basilar membrane (BM) travelling waves, and tests the extent to which it is able to account for this specific suppression phenomenon. A simple mathematical model based on local nonlinear interactions was developed, and its predictions for a range of tone burst pairs were compared to corresponding TBOAE suppression data recorded from fourteen normally hearing human ears at a level of 60 dB p.e. SPL. Model predictions and mean TBOAE suppression data showed close agreement for all pairs of tone bursts. These results suggest that simultaneous suppression of TBOAEs can be explained solely in terms of the local nonlinear interaction-based mechanism. However, the involvement of other mechanisms, involving components generated at places basal to their characteristic place along the BM, cannot be excluded.

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