Cochlear nonlinearity between 500 and 8000 Hz in listeners with normal hearing

Enrique A. Lopez-Poveda, Christopher J. Plack, Ray Meddis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Cochlear nonlinearity was estimated over a wide range of center frequencies and levels in listeners with normal hearing, using a forward-masking method. For a fixed low-level probe, the masker level required to mask the probe was measured as a function of the masker-probe interval, to produce a temporal masking curve (TMC). TMCs were measured for probe frequencies of 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz, and for masker frequencies 0.5, 0.7, 0.9, 1.0 (on frequency), 1.1, and 1.6 times the probe frequency. Across the range of probe frequencies, the TMCs for on-frequency maskers showed two or three segments with clearly distinct slopes. If it is assumed that the rate of decay of the internal effect of the masker is constant across level and frequency, the variations in the slopes of the TMCs can be attributed to variations in cochlear compression. Compression-ratio estimates for on-frequency maskers were between 3:1 and 5:1 across the range of probe frequencies. Compression did not decrease at low frequencies. The slopes of the TMCs for the lowest frequency probe (500 Hz) did not change with masker frequency. This suggests that compression extends over a wide range of stimulus frequencies relative to characteristic frequency in the apical region of the cochlea. © 2003 Acoustical Society of America.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)951-960
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003


    • Adult
    • physiology: Auditory Threshold
    • physiology: Basilar Membrane
    • physiology: Cochlear Nerve
    • physiology: Functional Laterality
    • Humans
    • Nonlinear Dynamics
    • physiology: Perceptual Masking
    • physiology: Pitch Discrimination
    • Reference Values
    • Sound Spectrography
    • Species Specificity


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