How is volume transduced?

Peter D. Smallwood psmallwo at
Tue Apr 14 10:18:31 EST 1998


forgive the intrusion of an amature to your newsgroup. I'm a professor of
biology at the University of Richmond, and am particularly interested in
ears and hearing because of the frequency of "nerve" hearing loss in my
family (typical loss in higher frequencies).  I've reviewed how the ear
works, and understand the basic anatomy of how the ear distiguishes pitch,
the different frequencies of sound waves. What I do not understand is how
the ear distinguishes different volumes: the amplitude of sound waves. 

Is this known? If not, can anyone give me a thumbnail sketch of the latest
theory for how the ear distiguishes 10 db from 20 db?  I'm not a
specialist, but am familiar with the basic anatomy of the Organ of Corti,
outer & inner hair cells, tectorial membrane, etc. 

thanks in advance, 

Dr. Peter D. Smallwood
Department of Biology			phone: 804-289-8803
University of Richmond		 	 phax: 804-289-8233
Richmond, VA 23173		    email: psmallwo at


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