The long-term goal of Peripheral Mechanisms of Hearing is to describe the transformations that acoustic signals undergo in the ear, focusing on the vibrations of the basilar membrane, the mechanical analyzer that separates sound into its frequency components and on which rests the organ of Corti and its hair cells, which convert vibrations into bioelectric potentials;the trains of action potentials that travel along auditory-nerve fibers, carrying acoustic information to the brain;and otoacoustic emissions, sounds produced by the ears of four-limbed animals, including humans. The investigations are carried out in deeply-anesthetized chinchillas, gerbils and pigeons. The ears of chinchillas and gerbils resemble those of other mammals including humans, and therefore serve as models to study cochlear function of direct relevance to human hearing. Birds, including pigeons, are more distantly related to humans, having evolved from dinosaurs. The study of their ears serves as a comparative counterpoint to the studies in chinchilla and gerbil. Cochlear vibrations are recorded with a laser system capable of measuring displacements of atomic dimensions. Otoacoustic emissions are measured with a sensitive microphone. The electrical responses of individual auditory-nerve fibers are recorded with fine-tipped microelectrodes. Cochlear vibrations will be measured at both apical and basal regions, which principally encode low- and high-frequency sounds, respectively. The responses of auditory-nerve fibers will be studied as functions of stimulus frequency and intensity, to establish their correspondence with the underlying vibrations. Otoacoustic emissions will be measured in animals with intact ears and also in conjunction with simultaneous recordings of cochlear vibrations or responses of auditory-nerve fibers. Similar studies will also be carried in pigeons.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed studies will enhance present knowledge of cochlear vibrations, otoacoustic emissions and auditory-nerve physiology in mammals and birds. Such knowledge will be applicable to human hearing and its disorders, contributing to the improvement of audiological diagnostic procedures and to the refinement of design goals for cochlear prostheses.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DC000419-23
Application #
8440775
Study Section
Auditory System Study Section (AUD)
Program Officer
Cyr, Janet
Project Start
1987-07-01
Project End
2015-03-31
Budget Start
2013-04-01
Budget End
2014-03-31
Support Year
23
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$437,608
Indirect Cost
$150,652
Name
Northwestern University at Chicago
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
160079455
City
Evanston
State
IL
Country
United States
Zip Code
60201
Temchin, Andrei N; Ruggero, Mario A (2014) Spatial irregularities of sensitivity along the organ of Corti of the cochlea. J Neurosci 34:11349-54
Temchin, Andrei N; Recio-Spinoso, Alberto; Ruggero, Mario A (2011) Timing of cochlear responses inferred from frequency-threshold tuning curves of auditory-nerve fibers. Hear Res 272:178-86
Recio-Spinoso, Alberto; Fan, Yun-Hui; Ruggero, Mario A (2011) Basilar-membrane responses to broadband noise modeled using linear filters with rational transfer functions. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 58:1456-65
Ruggero, Mario A; Temchin, Andrei N (2007) Similarity of traveling-wave delays in the hearing organs of humans and other tetrapods. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 8:153-66
Temchin, Andrei N; Recio-Spinoso, Alberto; van Dijk, Pim et al. (2005) Wiener kernels of chinchilla auditory-nerve fibers: verification using responses to tones, clicks, and noise and comparison with basilar-membrane vibrations. J Neurophysiol 93:3635-48
Siegel, Jonathan H; Cerka, Amanda J; Recio-Spinoso, Alberto et al. (2005) Delays of stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emissions and cochlear vibrations contradict the theory of coherent reflection filtering. J Acoust Soc Am 118:2434-43
Ruggero, Mario A; Temchin, Andrei N (2005) Unexceptional sharpness of frequency tuning in the human cochlea. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102:18614-9
Recio-Spinoso, Alberto; Temchin, Andrei N; van Dijk, Pim et al. (2005) Wiener-kernel analysis of responses to noise of chinchilla auditory-nerve fibers. J Neurophysiol 93:3615-34
Ruggero, Mario A (2004) Comparison of group delays of 2f(1)-f(2) distortion product otoacoustic emissions and cochlear travel times. Acoust Res Lett Online 5:143-147
Ruggero, Mario A; Temchin, Andrei N (2003) Middle-ear transmission in humans: wide-band, not frequency-tuned? Acoust Res Lett Online 4:53-58

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