The dynamic range of inner hair cell and organ of Corti responses

M. A. Cheatham*, P. Dallos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Inner hair cell (IHC) and organ of Corti (OC) responses are measured from the apical three turns of the guinea pig cochlea, allowing access to regions with best, or most sensitive, frequencies at approximately 250, 1000, and 4000 Hz. In addition to measuring both ac and dc receptor potentials, the average value of the half-wave rectified response (AVE(HR)) is computed to better reflect the signal that induces transmitter release. This measure facilitates comparisons with single-unit responses in the auditory nerve. Although IHC ac responses exhibit compressive growth, response magnitudes at high levels depend on stimulus frequency. For example, IHCs with moderate and high best frequencies (BF) exhibit more linear responses below the BF of the cell, where higher sound-pressure levels are required to approach saturation. Because a similar frequency dependence is observed in extracellular OC responses, this phenomenon may originate in cochlear mechanics. At the most apical recording location, however, the pattern documented at the base of the cochlea is not seen in IHCs with low BFs around 250 Hz. In fact, more linear behavior is measured above the BF of the cell. These frequency-dependent features require modification of cochlear models that do not provide for longitudinal variations and generally depend on a single stage of saturation located at the synapse. Finally, behavior of dc and AVE(HR) responses suggests that a single IHC is capable of coding intensity over a large dynamic range [Patuzzi and Sellick, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 74, 1734-1741 (1983); Smith et al., in Hearing - Physiological Bases and Psychophysics (Springer, Berlin, 1983); Smith, in Auditory Function (Wiley, New York, 1988)] and that information compiled over wide areas along the cochlear partition is not essential for loudness perception, consistent with psychophysical results [Viemeister, Hearing Res. 34, 267-274 (1988)]. (C) 2000 Acoustical Society of America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1508-1520
Number of pages13
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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