Intermodulation distortion (F2—F1) in inner hair cell and basilar membrane responses

A. L. Nuttall, D. F. Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Round window (RW) recordings in guinea pigs show a large response at the frequency of the quadratic difference tone (QDT) at F2—F1 for high-frequency (> 8 kHz) tone pairs. The magnitude of the RW response is dependent on frequency and level of the primaries. The QDT cochlear microphonic produced is largest for primaries with a frequency separation of approximately 900 Hz. Its source is probably the local activity of hair cells in basal cochlear locations where the high-frequency tones interact. QDT measurements from locations inside the organ of Corti show that the magnitude of the QDT is largest in the inner hair cell (IHC) region and monotonically increases as the difference in the frequency of the primaries decreases. Measured as IHC intracellular ac receptor potential, the QDT appears to be the result of a mechanical stimulus to the cell rather than as an inherent property of the nonlinear transduction in the IHC. However, QDT of the same form is not evident in the velocity responses of the basilar membrane. These results suggest that the outer hair cells (OHC) produce a strong quadratic distortion product mechanical force to stimulate inner hair cells. This mechanical drive may not be present, or is a weak component, in basilar membrane motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2061-2068
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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