On the basis of comparisons of responses of guinea pig ganglion cells and inner hair cells to intense low-frequency tones, Sellick et al. [Hear. Res. 7, 199–221 (1982)] have proposed that basal inner hair cells can be depolarized (and thus, VIII-N. spikes generated) by the extracellular microphonic generated during hyperpolarization of outer hair cells. VIII-N. data for the chinchilla have been presented that, to a first approximation, support such a hypothesis [Ruggero and Rich, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 73, 2096–2108 (1983) ]. However, an apparent discrepancy exists in our results, vis a vis Sellick et al.’s hypothesis, in that basal fiber near-threshold responses precede maximal negativity of the round window microphonic (i.e., maximal hyperpolarization of outer hair cells) by up to 90° (but generally less than 45°), depending on frequency. It is shown here that the discrepancy is resolved if certain nonlinear phase changes and overall distortion of the microphonic waveshapes, both of which occur at intense stimulus levels, are taken into account. It is also shown that compound action potentials (AP’s), superimposed on the round window microphonics, can be identified at multiple times within each stimulus cycle, closely matching the near-threshold response phases of single-unit excitation. AP1 is nearly synchronous with the negative-to-positive transition of round window microphonics and with the excitation of fibers innervating apical-to-middle cochlear regions. AP2 is synchronous with the positive-to-negative transition of the microphonics and with the excitation of basal fibers. One or two other AP’s probably reflect “peak splitting” in the responses of both basal and apical fibers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics