The Inner Ear
Equal time is given to the ‘place theory’ and the ‘volley theory’ of pitch discriminations. The latter is found wanting in some respects in which the former seems more adequate. Still, it is acknowledged that in the auditory nerve information may be detected as though coded by either method, and only the study of the central nervous system will eventually disclose which one of the two is actually read there.
The travelling-wave theory is the most commonly adopted to describe the mechanics of the inner ear, and it is indeed satisfactory under most circumstances. According to some authors, however, the theory fails to explain the behavior of the cochlea when stimulated by sound at pressure levels just above the threshold of hearing. The alternatives that have been offered instead of the travelling-wave model have, at the time of this writing, not been worked out in the detail and with the exactitude of their rival. The variable-resistor model of the excitation of hair cells, its criticisms and its alternatives, are also discussed in this chapter.
KeywordsHair Cell Nerve Ending Auditory Nerve Semicircular Canal Outer Hair Cell
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