Human medial efferent activity elicited by dynamic versus static contralateral noises

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The medial olivocochlear reflex (MOCR) modifies cochlear amplifier function to improve encoding of signals in static noise, but conflicting results have been reported regarding how the MOCR responds to dynamic, temporally-complex noises. The current study utilized three MOCR elicitors with identical spectral content but different temporal properties: broadband noise, amplitude-modulated noise, and speech envelope-modulated noise. MOCR activity was assessed using contralateral inhibition of transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions in 27 normal-hearing young adults. Elicitors were presented contralaterally at two intensities of 50 and 60dB SPL. Magnitude and growth of contralateral inhibition with increasing elicitor intensity were compared across the three elicitor types. Results revealed that contralateral inhibition was significantly larger at the elicitor intensity of 60dB SPL than at 50dB SPL, but there were no significant differences in the magnitude and growth of inhibition across the three elicitors, contrary to hypothesis. These results suggest that the MOCR responds similarly to both static and dynamic noise.HIGHLIGHTSMOCR responded similarly to dynamic and static noise elicitors.MOCR enhanced rather than inhibited TEOAE amplitudes in minority of subjects.Median MOCR growth was 0.11–0.13dB per 1dB increase in MOCR elicitor intensity.

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