Middle-ear response in the chinchilla and its relationship to mechanics at the base of the cochlea

Luis Robles, Mario A. Ruggero, Nola C. Rich, Bhagyalakshmi G. Shivapuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The responses of the malleus and the stapes to sinusoidal acoustic stimulation have been measured in the middle ears of anesthetized chinchillas using the Mossbauer technique. With “intact” bullas (i.e., closed except for venting via capillary tubing), the vibrations of the tip of the malleus reach a maximal peak velocity of about 2 mm/s in responses to 100-dB SPL tones in the frequency range 500–6000 Hz; vibration velocity diminishes toward lower frequencies with a slope of about 6 dB/oct. Opening the bulla widely increases the responses to low-frequency stimuli by as much as 16 dB. At low frequencies, malleus response sensitivity with either open or intact bullas far exceeds all previous measurements in cats and matches or exceeds such measurements in guinea pigs. Whether measured in open or intact bullas, phase-versus-frequency curves closely approximate those predicted from the magnitude-versus-frequency curves by minimum phase theory. The stapes responses are similar to those of the malleus, except that stapes response magnitude is lower, on the average, by 7.5 dB at frequencies below 2 kHz and 10.7 dB at 2 kHz and above. Comparison of the responses of the middle ear with those of the basilar membrane at a site 3.5 mm from the stapes indicates that, at frequencies below 150 Hz, the basilar membrane displacement is proportional to stapes acceleration. At frequencies between 150 and 2000 Hz, basilar membrane displacement is proportional to stapes velocity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1612-1629
Number of pages18
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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