Exploring Auditory Mechanics with Pressure and Motion Measurements. The series of experiments proposed here use pressure sensors and other special techniques developed in our lab, complemented by well-established methods like laser-doppler velocimetry, to explore auditory mechanics. The projects of the first four aims continue and extend our previous work on inner and middle ear mechanics.
The final aim develops and evaluates a new method for deep cochlear implant insertion. Sound input causes a wave-pattern of sensory tissue motion within the inner ear that is conveyed to the auditory nerve, leading to hearing. This takes place within cochlear compartments having very limited experimental accessibility.
Aims one and two of the studies proposed here will push into these barely accessible compartments with specialized micro-sensors.
Aim one uses a further miniaturized micro-pressure sensor for in vivo measurements of scala media pressure.
Aim two advances our lab's well- established scala tympani pressure measurements by combining them with cochlear microphonic measurements at the same location, within micrometers of the organ of Corti.
Both aims are designed to test specific theoretical predictions in order to have a strong impact on the advancement of knowledge. Sound is transmitted by the middle ear with high fidelity even at frequencies where the eardrum has a complex, random-wavy response to sound. Recent theories employ the eardrum wave for sound transmission, and our aim three tests that prediction by changing the wave speed with stiffening agents, measuring the wave speed with a laser velocimeter and also monitoring sound transmission with intracochlear pressure. Our second middle ear aim explores a theoretical prediction that the air cavity behind the eardrum provides reflection that is the basis for good sound transmission at high frequencies. Finally, our last aim explores a novel method for deep cochlear implant insertion using viscous forces. The method will by evaluated physiologically in the proposed studies.

Public Health Relevance

Exploring auditory mechanics with pressure and motion measurements. The core objective of the project is to understand the mechanical processing of the auditory periphery: how the middle ear effectively transmits sound to the inner ear, and the mechanical processing that leads to a frequency-sorted pattern of vibration along the long narrow strip of sensory tissue in the inner ear. Additionally, we have developed a non-traumatic method of cochlear implant insertion and will further develop and test this method. We use micro-pressure-sensors that were developed in our laboratory, and laser-based methods for measuring tiny motions, in order to test current theories of the operation of the ear and measure mechanical responses in implanted inner ears.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Auditory System Study Section (AUD)
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Cyr, Janet
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Columbia University
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Milazzo, Mario; Fallah, Elika; Carapezza, Michael et al. (2017) The path of a click stimulus from ear canal to umbo. Hear Res 346:1-13
Wang, Yi; Olson, Elizabeth S (2016) Cochlear perfusion with a viscous fluid. Hear Res 337:1-11
Dong, Wei; Olson, Elizabeth S (2016) Two-Tone Suppression of Simultaneous Electrical and Mechanical Responses in the Cochlea. Biophys J 111:1805-1815
Kale, Sushrut S; Olson, Elizabeth S (2015) Intracochlear Scala Media Pressure Measurement: Implications for Models of Cochlear Mechanics. Biophys J 109:2678-2688
Kale, Sushrut; Cervantes, Vanessa M; Wu, Mailing R et al. (2014) A novel perfusion-based method for cochlear implant electrode insertion. Hear Res 314:33-41
Bergevin, Christopher; Olson, Elizabeth S (2014) External and middle ear sound pressure distribution and acoustic coupling to the tympanic membrane. J Acoust Soc Am 135:1294-312
Decraemer, W F; de La Rochefoucauld, O; Funnell, W R J et al. (2014) Three-dimensional vibration of the malleus and incus in the living gerbil. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 15:483-510
Dong, Wei; Olson, Elizabeth S (2013) Detection of cochlear amplification and its activation. Biophys J 105:1067-78
Dong, Wei; Varavva, Polina; Olson, Elizabeth S (2013) Sound transmission along the ossicular chain in common wild-type laboratory mice. Hear Res 301:27-34
Olson, Elizabeth S; Duifhuis, Hendrikus; Steele, Charles R (2012) Von Bekesy and cochlear mechanics. Hear Res 293:31-43

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