Cochlear tuning.. of mice and men

Shirin Farrahi, Roozbeh Ghaffari, Jonathan B. Sellon, Hideko H. Nakajima, Dennis M. Freeman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that humans discriminate different frequency sounds with greater selectivity than other mammals. However, mechanisms that could underlie higher frequency selectivity in humans are unclear. Recent studies show that the tectorial membrane (TM) supports longitudinally propagating waves, and the spread of excitation of these TM waves has been implicated in controlling the tuning properties in a mutant mouse model of hearing. Here we compare TM morphology and waves in humans and mice and show that despite some differences in morphology, the spread of excitation of TM waves is similar in spatial extent. However, the cochlear maps of humans and mice differ significantly, with similar cochlear distances mapping to a narrower range of best frequencies in humans than in mice. By coupling different frequency ranges, TM waves could contribute to differences in frequency tuning in mammals, with the smaller human range of frequencies corresponding to sharper frequency tuning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTo the Ear and Back Again - Advances in Auditory Biophysics
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Mechanics of Hearing Workshop
EditorsChristopher Bergevin, Sunil Puria
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9780735416703
StatePublished - May 31 2018
Event13th Mechanics of Hearing Workshop: To the Ear and Back Again - Advances in Auditory Biophysics, MoH 2017 - St. Catharines, Canada
Duration: Jun 19 2017Jun 24 2017

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other13th Mechanics of Hearing Workshop: To the Ear and Back Again - Advances in Auditory Biophysics, MoH 2017
CitySt. Catharines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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