Stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emission suppression tuning in humans: Comparison to behavioral tuning

Karolina K. Charaziak*, Pamela Souza, Jonathan H. Siegel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


As shown by the work of Kemp and Chum in 1980, stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emission suppression tuning curves (SFOAE STCs) have potential to objectively estimate behaviorally measured tuning curves. To date, this potential has not been tested. This study aims to do so by comparing SFOAE STCs and behavioral measures of tuning (simultaneous masking psychophysical tuning curves, PTCs) in 10 normal-hearing listeners for frequency ranges centered around 1,000 and 4,000 Hz at low probe levels. Additionally, SFOAE STCs were collected for varying conditions (probe level and suppression criterion) to identify the optimal parameters for comparison with behavioral data and to evaluate how these conditions affect the features of SFOAE STCs. SFOAE STCs qualitatively resembled PTCs: they demonstrated band-pass characteristics and asymmetric shapes with steeper high-frequency sides than low, but unlike PTCs they were consistently tuned to frequencies just above the probe frequency. When averaged across subjects the shapes of SFOAE STCs and PTCs showed agreement for most recording conditions, suggesting that PTCs are predominantly shaped by the frequency-selective filtering and suppressive effects of the cochlea. Individual SFOAE STCs often demonstrated irregular shapes (e.g., "double-tips"), particularly for the 1,000-Hz probe, which were not observed for the same subject's PTC. These results show the limited utility of SFOAE STCs to assess tuning in an individual. The irregularly shaped SFOAE STCs may be attributed to contributions from SFOAE sources distributed over a region of the basilar membrane extending beyond the probe characteristic place, as suggested by a repeatable pattern of SFOAE residual phase shifts observed in individual data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-862
Number of pages20
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • frequency selectivity
  • normal hearing
  • psychophysical tuning curve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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