Volume 98, Number 2, April 2012
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||30 April 2012|
Enhancing mammalian hearing by a balancing between spontaneous otoacoustic emissions and spatial coupling
Institute of Theoretical Physics and Department of Physics, East China Normal University 200062, Shanghai, China
2 Department of Physics and Centre for Computational Science and Engineering, National University of Singapore 117546, Singapore
3 Centre for Phononics and Thermal Energy Science, Department of Physics, Tongji University 200092, Shanghai, China
4 School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Accepted: 26 March 2012
Nonlinear dynamics has provided significant insights into the origin of frequency discrimination and signal amplification underlying mammalian hearing. Existing signal amplification models, however, tend to ignore two basic known aspects of the hearing: spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) and intrinsic dynamical coupling in the cochlea. We construct and study a class of coupled-oscillator models to remedy this deficiency. Our analysis and computations reveal that the interplay and balance between the two aspects can naturally explain the phenomena of frequency discrimination and signal amplification and, more strikingly, the origin of hearing loss, all at a quantitative level. In the presence of SOAEs, there exists a critical coupling threshold below which hearing loss can occur, suggesting enhancement of coupling as a potentially effective therapeutic strategy to restore or even significantly enhance hearing.
PACS: 05.45.-a – Nonlinear dynamics and chaos / 87.19.lt – Sensory systems: visual, auditory, tactile, taste, and olfaction / 87.10.Ca – Analytical theories
© EPLA, 2012
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