A cochlear nonlinear transmission-line model compatible with combination tone psychophysicsa)

Miriam Furst, Julius L. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human psychophysical measurements of the cubic combination tone (2\\\\\\\\fx — f2) have shown that at low and moderate stimulus levels its phase decreases at 6°-12° per dB increase in stimulus level. This finding contrasts with physiological measurements in anaesthetized animals where the CT phase is insensitive to stimulus level. We have characterized quantitatively the difference in cochlear nonlinear response between humans and animals in terms of a cochlear nonlinear transmission line model having different nonlinear elements for human and animal. Following Hall [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 56, 1818-1828 (1974)], a nonlinearity was introduced in the resistance of the cochlear partition (model A) for describing the animal cochlea. To model the human cochlea, we found that adding a nonlinear stiffness to the nonlinear mechanical loading of the basilar membrane gave the correct phase-amplitude dependence (model B). Simulation was used to solve the nonlinear models in the time domain. For high amplitude stimuli, both models predict similar results, mainly saturation in the response. The significant differences between the models occur at low and moderate stimulus intensities. According to model B the site of the resonant frequency along the basilar membrane depends on the stimulus level, while it is independent of stimulus level according to model A. As a result of the shift in the resonant site location in model B, the phase response profile is shifted as well, so that the phase response at the original resonant site depends on stimulus level. The psychophysical data on CT cancellation were predicted by model B, while physiological data on CT cancellation are predicted by model A.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-726
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • 43.63. Bq
  • 43.63. Kz
  • 43.66. Ba
  • 43.66. Ki
  • PACS numbers


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