Interrelationships between spontaneous and low-level stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emissions in humans

Christopher Bergevin, Analydia Fulcher, Susan Richmond, David Velenovsky, Jungmee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


It has been proposed that OAEs be classified not on the basis of the stimuli used to evoke them, but on the mechanisms that produce them (Shera and Guinan, 1999). One branch of this taxonomy focuses on a coherent reflection model and explicitly describes interrelationships between spontaneous emissions (SOAEs) and stimulus-frequency emissions (SFOAEs). The present study empirically examines SOAEs and SFOAEs from individual ears within the context of model predictions, using a low stimulus level (20 dB SPL) to evoke SFOAEs. Emissions were recorded from ears of normal-hearing young adults, both with and without prominent SOAE activity. When spontaneous activity was observed, SFOAEs demonstrated a localized increase about the SOAE peaks. The converse was not necessarily true though, i.e., robust SFOAEs could be measured where no SOAE peaks were observed. There was no significant difference in SFOAE phase-gradient delays between those with and without observable SOAE activity. However, delays were larger for a 20 dB SPL stimulus level than those previously reported for 40 dB SPL. The total amount of SFOAE phase accumulation occurring between adjacent SOAE peaks tended to cluster about an integral number of cycles. Overall, the present data appear congruous with predictions stemming from the coherent reflection model and support the notion that such comparisons ideally are made with emissions evoked using relatively lower stimulus levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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