Basilar membrane responses to noise at a basal site of the chinchilla cochlea: Quasi-linear filtering

Alberto Recio-Spinoso, Shyamla S. Narayan, Mario A. Ruggero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Basilar membrane responses to clicks and to white noise were recorded using laser velocimetry at basal sites of the chinchilla cochlea with characteristic frequencies near 10 kHz. Responses to noise grew at compressive rates and their instantaneous frequencies decreased with increasing stimulus level. First-order Wiener kernels were computed by cross-correlation of the noise stimuli and the responses. For linear systems, first-order Wiener kernels are identical to unit impulse responses. In the case of basilar membrane responses, first-order Wiener kernels and responses to clicks measured at the same sites were similar but not identical. Both consisted of transient oscillations with onset frequencies which increased rapidly, over about 0.5 ms, from 4-5 kHz to the characteristic frequency. Both first-order Wiener kernels and responses to clicks were more highly damped, exhibited slower frequency modulation, and grew at compressive rates with increasing stimulus levels. Responses to clicks had longer durations than the Wiener kernels. The statistical distribution of basilar membrane responses to Gaussian white noise is also Gaussian and the envelopes of the responses are Rayleigh distributed, as they should be for Gaussian noise passing through a linear band-pass filter. Accordingly, basilar membrane responses were accurately predicted by linear filters specified by the first-order Wiener kernels of responses to noise presented at the same level. Overall, the results indicate that cochlear nonlinearity is not instantaneous and resembles automatic gain control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-484
Number of pages14
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Clicks
  • Frequency glides
  • Impulse responses
  • Laser velocimetry
  • Wiener kernels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems


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