Cochlear active nonlinear process: what is status of knowledge?

David Friedman dhfx at
Tue Mar 7 09:00:36 EST 1995

   A few years ago I was following research in the area of what appeared
to be an active process in the cochlea, mediated by the outer hair cells,
apparently amplifying the basilar-membrane traveling wave at low levels
of amplitude, and saturating at 30-40 dB SPL. I was interested in the
implications of the nonlinearity for speech perception, and began work
on a computational cochlear model incorporating a saturating active
process (naturally, the support was discontinued before I could really
get anywhere with it). I did manage to simulate some combination-tone data
and get a paper out of it (1990 Mechanics of Hearing conference, U. of
   I'm interested now to know what is the current thinking in regard to
the active OHC process, and whether anyone is working on the effects of
cochlear nonlinearity for speech perception.

dhfx at  (David H. Friedman)

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