Efferent modulation of pre-neural and neural distortion products

S. B. Smith, K. Ichiba, D. S. Velenovsky, B. Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) and distortion product frequency following responses (DPFFRs) are respectively pre-neural and neural measurements associated with cochlear nonlinearity. Because cochlear nonlinearity is putatively linked to outer hair cell electromotility, DPOAEs and DPFFRs may provide complementary measurements of the human medial olivocochlear (MOC) reflex, which directly modulates outer hair cell function. In this study, we first quantified MOC reflex-induced DPOAE inhibition at spectral fine structure peaks in 22 young human adults with normal hearing. The f1 and f2 tone pairs producing the largest DPOAE fine structure peak for each subject were then used to evoke DPFFRs with and without MOC reflex activation to provide a related neural measure of efferent inhibition. We observed significant positive relationships between DPOAE fine structure peak inhibition and inhibition of DPFFR components representing neural phase locking to f2 and 2f1-f2, but not f1. These findings may support previous observations that the MOC reflex inhibits DPOAE sources differentially. That these effects are maintained and represented in the auditory brainstem suggests that the MOC reflex may exert a potent influence on subsequent subcortical neural representation of sound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalHearing Research
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Distortion product otoacoustic emissions
  • Efferent
  • Frequency following response
  • Medial olivocochlear reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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