Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) measured in human newborns are not adult-like. More than a decade of work from various investigators has created a well-developed body of evidence describing these differences but the putative anatomy or physiology has only been partially explained. Recently, Abdala and Keefe [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 120, 3832-3842 (2006)] have identified outer and middle ear immaturities that at least partially describe the differences observed between newborn and adult input-output functions and suppression tuning curves. DPOAE fine structure characteristics and their maturation have not been examined to any extent in the literature. Fine structure characteristics in two groups of ten newborns and young adults with normal hearing sensitivity are compared here. Consistent with previous reports, the newborns show higher DPOAE levels; greater fine structure depth and wider fine structure spacing is also observed in the newborns. Differences in fine structure morphology are also observed between the two age groups. While some of these findings are attributable to an immature outer and middle ear system in the newborns, it is argued that some observed differences in fine structure characteristics might be due to remnant immaturities in passive motion of the basilar membrane in the newborn cochlea.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics