Peripheral Mechanisms of Hearing

Project: Research project

Project Details


This proposal includes three new projects addressing the mechanical "cochlear amplifiers" of the inner ears ofvertebrates. The first project investigates the effects of various noxious agents on the responses to sound ofthe basilar membrane, the outer hair cells and auditory-nerve fibers at basal sites of the chinchilla cochlea.These agents have been chosen because they target the somatic electromotility of outer hair ceils (the putativeamplifiers of mammalian cochleae) in vitro, affect otoacoustic emissions and/or otherwise affect outer haircell function in-vivo or in-vitro. The second project will extend our recent findings on the development ofpassive cochlear traveling waves in newborn Mongolian gerbils by studying the maturation of the cochlearamplifier as reflected in the growth of basilar-membrane sensitivity and the strength of compressivenonlinearities. The third project consists of mechanical and electrophysiological recordings in the basilarpapillae (analogues of the mammalian cochlea) of avian and reptilian species (pigeon, alligator and turtle),which have basilar membranes but not outer hair cells. The goal is to ascertain whether basilar-membranevibrations in these species reflect the presence of stereociliar cochlear amplifiers which may play a roleequivalent to that of outer hair cell somatic electromotility in mammalian cochleae. The results of theproposed research should be of fundamental value in defining the mechanical bases of auditory transductionin the inner ears of mammals and other vertebrates and may also serve to clarify the pathophysiology ofsensorineural hearing loss in humans.
Effective start/end date12/1/0211/30/08


  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (5 R01 DC000419-19(Rev 2/28/07))


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