Acoustic reflexes to Schroeder-phase harmonic complexes in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired individuals

Lina R. Kubli, Marjorie R. Leek, Laura E. Dreisbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Harmonic complexes generated with positive or negative Schroeder-phases may result in differences in cochlear excitation, even though their long-term spectra and amplitudes are equal. As a measure of possible differences in cochlear excitation resulting from these harmonic complexes, thresholds and growth of the acoustic reflex were assessed in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired subjects. Harmonic complexes with fundamental frequencies of 50, 100, and 200 Hz were constructed with positive and negative-Schroeder phases. In normal-hearing subjects, acoustic reflex thresholds for the 50- and 100-Hz fundamental waveforms were typically lower for negative Schroeder-phase complexes than for positive Schroeder phase stimuli. At the highest fundamental frequency of 200 Hz, there were no significant threshold differences due to phase. Hearing-impaired subjects showed a similar pattern for thresholds between the two phase selections, but with smaller differences than those observed in normal-hearing subjects. At levels above reflex threshold, the magnitude of the acoustic reflex was greater for the negative-phase than the positive-phase stimuli for the lowest fundamental frequency, but no significant differences were observed at fundamental frequencies of 100 and 200 Hz. These results are consistent with generally greater cochlear excitation in response to negative than to positive Schroeder-phase stimuli when the fundamental frequency is sufficiently low. Increased excitation may reflect a synchronization of response across a wide band of frequencies in the cochlea when the rate of frequency sweep within periods of these harmonic complexes is appropriately matched to timing characteristics of the traveling wave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic reflex
  • Cochlear excitation
  • Harmonic complexes
  • Schroeder phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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