Cochlear Distortion: Effect of Direct-Current Polarization

Science  25 Apr 1969:
Vol. 164, Issue 3878, pp. 449-451
DOI: 10.1126/science.164.3878.449


Intermodulation components (combination tones) appearing in microphonic potentials were measured from guinea pig cochleas with and without polarizing direct currents passing through the cochlear partition. At moderate intensities of stimulus the polarization had a qualitatively different effect on the distortion components than on their eliciting primaries or on pure tones simulating the distortion products. At high intensities, the primaries and the combination tones were similarly influenced by the polarizing current. It is concluded that cochlear distortion is a two-stage process, mechano-electrical at low levels and mechano-hydraulic at high levels.