Measurement of cochlear power gain in the sensitive gerbil ear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The extraordinary sensitivity of the mammalian ear is commonly attributed to the cochlear amplifier, a cellular process thought to locally boost responses of the cochlear partition to soft sounds. However, cochlear power gain has not been measured directly. Here we use a scanning laser interferometer to determine the volume displacement and volume velocity of the cochlear partition by measuring its transverse vibration along and across the partition. We show the transverse displacement at the peak-response location can be >1,000 times greater than the displacement of the stapes, whereas the volume displacement of an area centred at this location is approximately tenfold greater than that of the stapes. Using the volume velocity and cochlear-fluid impedance, we discover that power at the peak-response area is >100-fold greater than that at the stapes. These results demonstrate experimentally that the cochlea amplifies soft sounds, offering insight into the mechanism responsible for the cochlear sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberncomms1226
JournalNature Communications
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Fingerprint

power gain
Gerbillinae
Cochlea
ear
Ear
Acoustic waves
partitions
Stapes
Interferometers
Scanning
cochlea
transverse oscillation
Fluids
acoustics
Lasers
sensitivity
acceleration (physics)
interferometers
amplifiers
impedance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Measurement of cochlear power gain in the sensitive gerbil ear. / Ren, Tianying; He, Wenxuan; Barr-Gillespie, Peter.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 2, No. 1, ncomms1226, 2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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