Date: 10 Jun 2005

Physiological Mechanisms of Onset Adaptation and Contralateral Suppression of DPOAEs in the Rat


An investigation was undertaken to measure medial olivocochlear (MOC) reflexes in anesthetized rats before and after sectioning of the middle-ear muscles. Distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) magnitude and phase temporal responses were measured ipsilaterally to study MOC-mediated “DPOAE onset adaptation” and in the presence of a contralateral noise to study MOC-mediated contralateral “suppression” (terms as used by previous researchers). Distortion product otoacoustic emission onset adaptation and contralateral suppression had predictable changes in direction of magnitude and phase that were dependent on the input–output function. After sectioning of the middle-ear muscles (MEMs), DPOAE onset adaptation and contralateral suppression were greatly reduced, and there were little, if any, changes in phase. These “residual” changes were interpreted as a result of the MOC reflex. The results suggest that what appears to be DPOAE onset adaptation and contralateral suppression can be mediated primarily by MEM reflexes. When studying MOC effects on otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) using acoustic stimulation, it is necessary to make recordings over a span of stimulus levels. In addition, looking at both magnitude and phase of the OAE may help separate what is due to the MOC reflex from MEM reflex.

This manuscript was based on a rough draft written by the first author and many discussions with him prior to his death. Every effort has been made to portray the data and its discussion as he would have intended. BAP, ARS, CIW.