Obtaining reliable phase-gradient delays from otoacoustic emission data.
ABSTRACT: Reflection-source otoacoustic emission phase-gradient delays are widely used to obtain noninvasive estimates of cochlear function and properties, such as the sharpness of mechanical tuning and its variation along the length of the cochlear partition. Although different data-processing strategies are known to yield different delay estimates and trends, their relative reliability has not been established. This paper uses in silico experiments to evaluate six methods for extracting delay trends from reflection-source otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). The six methods include both previously published procedures (e.g., phase smoothing, energy-weighting, data exclusion based on signal-to-noise ratio) and novel strategies (e.g., peak-picking, all-pass factorization). Although some of the methods perform well (e.g., peak-picking), others introduce substantial bias (e.g., phase smoothing) and are not recommended. In addition, since standing waves caused by multiple internal reflection can complicate the interpretation and compromise the application of OAE delays, this paper develops and evaluates two promising signal-processing strategies, the first based on time-frequency filtering using the continuous wavelet transform and the second on cepstral analysis, for separating the direct emission from its subsequent reflections. Altogether, the results help to resolve previous disagreements about the frequency dependence of human OAE delays and the sharpness of cochlear tuning while providing useful analysis methods for future studies.
Project description:Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are faint sounds generated by healthy inner ears that provide a window into the study of auditory mechanics. All vertebrate classes exhibit OAEs to varying degrees, yet the biophysical origins are still not well understood. Here, we analyzed both spontaneous (SOAE) and stimulus-frequency (SFOAE) otoacoustic emissions from a bird (barn owl, Tyto alba) and a lizard (green anole, Anolis carolinensis). These species possess highly disparate macromorphologies of the inner ear relative to each other and to mammals, thereby allowing for novel insights into the biomechanical mechanisms underlying OAE generation. All ears exhibited robust OAE activity, and our chief observation was that SFOAE phase accumulation between adjacent SOAE peak frequencies clustered about an integral number of cycles. Being highly similar to published results from human ears, we argue that these data indicate a common underlying generator mechanism of OAEs across all vertebrates, despite the absence of morphological features thought essential to mammalian cochlear mechanics. We suggest that otoacoustic emissions originate from phase coherence in a system of coupled oscillators, which is consistent with the notion of "coherent reflection" but does not explicitly require a mammalian-type traveling wave. Furthermore, comparison between SFOAE delays and auditory nerve fiber responses for the barn owl strengthens the notion that most OAE delay can be attributed to tuning.
Project description:The BETA2/NeuroD1 null mouse has cochlear dysplasia. Its cochlear duct is shorter than normal, there is a lack of spiral ganglion neurons, and there is hair cell disorganization. We measured vertical movements of the tectorial membrane at acoustic frequencies in excised cochleae in response to mechanical stimulation of the stapes using laser doppler vibrometry. While tuning curve sharpness was similar between wild-type, heterozygotes, and null mice in the base, null mutants had broader tuning in the apex. At both the base and the apex, null mice had less phase lag accumulation with increasing stimulus frequency than wild-type or heterozygote mice. In vivo studies demonstrated that the null mouse lacked distortion product otoacoustic emissions, and the cochlear microphonic and endocochlear potential were found to be severely reduced. Electrically evoked otoacoustic emissions could be elicited, although the amplitudes were lower than those of wild-type mice. Cochlear cross-sections revealed an incomplete partition malformation, with fenestrations within the modiolus that connected the cochlear turns. Outer hair cells from null mice demonstrated the normal pattern of prestin expression within their lateral walls and normal FM 1-43 dye entry. Overall, these data demonstrate that while tonotopicity can exist with cochlear dysplasia, traveling wave propagation is abnormally fast. Additionally, the presence of electrically evoked otoacoustic emissions suggests that outer hair cell reverse transduction is present, although the acoustic response is shaped by the alterations in cochlear mechanics.
Project description:This paper describes the implementation and performance of a nonlinear time-domain model of the cochlea for transient stimulation and human otoacoustic emission generation. The nonlinearity simulates compressive growth of measured basilar-membrane impulse responses. The model accounts for reflection and distortion-source otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) and simulates spontaneous OAEs through manipulation of the middle-ear reflectance. The model was calibrated using human psychoacoustical and otoacoustic tuning parameters. It can be used to investigate time-dependent properties of cochlear mechanics and the generator mechanisms of otoacoustic emissions. Furthermore, the model provides a suitable preprocessor for human auditory perception models where realistic cochlear excitation patterns are desired.
Project description:This paper presents the results of simulating the acoustic suppression of distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) from a computer model of cochlear mechanics. A tone suppressor was introduced, causing the DPOAE level to decrease, and the decrement was plotted against an increasing suppressor level. Suppression threshold was estimated from the resulting suppression growth functions (SGFs), and suppression tuning curves (STCs) were obtained by plotting the suppression threshold as a function of suppressor frequency. Results show that the slope of SGFs is generally higher for low-frequency suppressors than high-frequency suppressors, resembling those obtained from normal hearing human ears. By comparing responses of normal (100%) vs reduced (50%) outer-hair-cell sensitivities, the model predicts that the tip-to-tail difference of the STCs correlates well with that of intra-cochlear iso-displacement tuning curves. The correlation is poorer, however, between the sharpness of the STCs and that of the intra-cochlear tuning curves. These results agree qualitatively with what was recently reported from normal-hearing and hearing-impaired human subjects, and examination of intra-cochlear model responses can provide the needed insight regarding the interpretation of DPOAE STCs obtained in individual ears.
Project description:Behavioral manifestations of processing deficits associated with auditory processing disorder (APD) have been well documented. However, little is known about their anatomical underpinnings, especially cochlear processing. Cochlear delays, a proxy for cochlear tuning, measured using stimulus frequency otoacoustic emission (SFOAE) group delay, and the influence of the medial olivocochlear (MOC) system activation at the auditory periphery was studied in 23 children suspected with APD (sAPD) and 22 typically developing (TD) children. Results suggest that children suspected with APD have longer SFOAE group delays (possibly due to sharper cochlear tuning) and reduced MOC function compared to TD children. Other differences between the groups include correlation between MOC function and SFOAE delay in quiet in the TD group, and lack thereof in the sAPD group. MOC-mediated changes in SFOAE delay were in opposite directions between groups: increase in delay in TD vs. reduction in delay in the sAPD group. Longer SFOAE group delays in the sAPD group may lead to longer cochlear filter ringing, and potential increase in forward masking. These results indicate differences in cochlear and MOC function between sAPD and TD groups. Further studies are warranted to explore the possibility of cochlea as a potential site for processing deficits in APD.
Project description:When two pure tones (or primaries) of slightly different frequencies (f (1) and f (2)) are presented to the ear, new frequency components are generated by nonlinear interaction of the primaries within the cochlea. These new components can be recorded in the ear canal as otoacoustic emissions (OAE). The level of the 2f (1)-f (2) OAE component is known as the distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) and is regarded as an indicator of the physiological state of the cochlea. The current view is that maximal level DPOAEs occur for primaries that produce equal excitation at the f (2) cochlear region, but this notion cannot be directly tested in living humans because it is impossible to record their cochlear responses while monitoring their ear canal DPOAE levels. On the other hand, it has been claimed that the temporal masking curve (TMC) method of inferring human basilar membrane responses allows measurement of the levels of equally effective pure tones at any given cochlear site. The assumptions of this behavioral method, however, lack firm physiological support in humans. Here, the TMC method was applied to test the current notion on the conditions that maximize DPOAE levels in humans. DPOAE and TMC results were mutually consistent for frequencies of 1 and 4 kHz and for levels below around 65 dB sound pressure level. This match supports the current view on the generation of maximal level DPOAEs as well as the assumptions of the behavioral TMC method.
Project description:The tectorial membrane (TM) is widely believed to play an important role in determining the ear's ability to detect and resolve incoming acoustic information. While it is still unclear precisely what that role is, the TM has been hypothesized to help overcome viscous forces and thereby sharpen mechanical tuning of the sensory cells. Lizards present a unique opportunity to further study the role of the TM given the diverse inner-ear morphological differences across species. Furthermore, stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emissions (SFOAEs), sounds emitted by the ear in response to a tone, noninvasively probe the frequency selectivity of the ear. We report estimates of auditory tuning derived from SFOAEs for 12 different species of lizards with widely varying TM morphology. Despite gross anatomical differences across the species examined herein, low-level SFOAEs were readily measurable in all ears tested, even in non-TM species whose basilar papilla contained as few as 50-60 hair cells. Our measurements generally support theoretical predictions: longer delays/sharper tuning features are found in species with a TM relative to those without. However, SFOAEs from at least one non-TM species (Anolis) with long delays suggest there are likely additional micromechanical factors at play that can directly affect tuning. Additionally, in the one species examined with a continuous TM (Aspidoscelis) where cell-to-cell coupling is presumably relatively stronger, delays were intermediate. This observation appears consistent with recent reports that suggest the TM may play a more complex macromechanical role in the mammalian cochlea via longitudinal energy distribution (and thereby affect tuning). Although significant differences exist between reptilian and mammalian auditory biophysics, understanding lizard OAE generation mechanisms yields significant insight into fundamental principles at work in all vertebrate ears.
Project description:Mutations in the gene coding for the high-affinity thiamine transporter Slc19a2 underlie the clinical syndrome known as thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia (TRMA) characterized by anemia, diabetes, and sensorineural hearing loss. To create a mouse model of this disease, a mutant line was created with targeted disruption of the gene. Cochlear function is normal in these mutants when maintained on a high-thiamine diet. When challenged with a low-thiamine diet, Slc19a2-null mice showed 40-60 dB threshold elevations by auditory brainstem response (ABR), but only 10-20 dB elevation by otoacoustic emission (OAE) measures. Wild-type mice retain normal hearing on either diet. Cochlear histological analysis showed a pattern uncommon for sensorineural hearing loss: selective loss of inner hair cells after 1-2 weeks on low thiamine and significantly greater inner than outer hair cell loss after longer low-thiamine challenges. Such a pattern is consistent with the observed discrepancy between ABR and OAE threshold shifts. The possible role of thiamine transport in other reported cases of selective inner hair cell loss is considered.
Project description:Simultaneous measurement of auditory brain stem response (ABR) and otoacoustic emission (OAE) delays may provide insights into effects of level, frequency, and stimulus rise-time on cochlear delay. Tone-burst-evoked ABRs and OAEs (TBOAEs) were measured simultaneously in normal-hearing human subjects. Stimuli included a wide range of frequencies (0.5-8 kHz), levels (20-90 dB SPL), and tone-burst rise times. ABR latencies have orderly dependence on these three parameters, similar to previously reported data by Gorga et al. [J. Speech Hear. Res. 31, 87-97 (1988)]. Level dependence of ABR and TBOAE latencies was similar across a wide range of stimulus conditions. At mid-frequencies, frequency dependence of ABR and TBOAE latencies were similar. The dependence of ABR latency on both rise time and level was significant; however, the interaction was not significant, suggesting independent effects. Comparison between ABR and TBOAE latencies reveals that the ratio of TBOAE latency to ABR forward latency (the level-dependent component of ABR total latency) is close to one below 1.5 kHz, but greater than two above 1.5 kHz. Despite the fact that the current experiment was designed to test compatibility with models of reverse-wave propagation, existing models do not completely explain the current data.
Project description:A click-evoked otoacoustic emission (CEOAE) has group delay and spread as first- and second-order temporal moments varying over frequency, and instantaneous frequency and bandwidth as first- and second-order spectral moments varying over time. Energy-smoothed moments were calculated from a CEOAE database over 0.5-15 kHz bandwidth and 0.25-20 ms duration. Group delay and instantaneous frequency were calculated without phase unwrapping using a coherence synchrony measure that accurately classified ears with hearing loss. CEOAE moment measurements were repeatable in individual ears. Group delays were similar for CEOAEs and stimulus-frequency OAEs. Group spread is a frequency-specific measure of temporal spread in an emission, related to spatial spread across tonotopic generation sites along the cochlea. In normal ears, group delay and spread increased with frequency and decreased with level. A direct measure of cochlear tuning above 4 kHz was analyzed using instantaneous frequency and bandwidth. Synchronized spontaneous OAEs were present in most ears below 4 kHz, and confounded interpretation of moments. In ears with sensorineural hearing loss, group delay and spread varied with audiometric classification and amount of hearing loss; group delay differed between older males and females. CEOAE moments reveal clinically relevant information on cochlear tuning in ears with normal and impaired hearing.