Characteristics of the travelling wave in the low-frequency region of a temporal-bone preparation of the guinea-pig cochlea

Werner Hemmert, Hans Peter Zenner, Anthony W. Gummer

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24 Scopus citations


This study provides a detailed quantitative description of the acoustically evoked vibration responses in the low-frequency region of the in vitro guinea-pig cochlea. Responses of the basilar membrane, the reticular lamina and Hensen cells were measured with a laser Doppler vibrometer, without the need for introducing artificial light reflectors. The apex of the cochlea was opened, leaving the helicotrema intact. Two response components were detected: a 'fast' component, which was probably caused by the hole in the cochlea, and a 'slow' component, which shared the features of a classical travelling wave. The velocity response of the 'slow' component exhibited a relatively flat low-frequency slope (15 dB/oct) and a much steeper high-frequency roll-off (third turn: -47 dB/oct; fourth turn: -35 dB/oct). The group delay was dependent on the characteristic frequency. In the fourth turn, the sharpness of the velocity tuning curves (Q(10 dB): 1.0) was similar to those of in vivo mechanical and neural recordings, whereas in the third turn the tuning (Q(10 dB): 1.1) was much less than for in vivo recordings. The results indicate that cochlear amplification, which is responsible for the high sensitivity and sharp tuning in the basal part of the cochlea, is much less pronounced in the apical turn of the cochlea. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-202
Number of pages19
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Basilar membrane
  • Cochlear mechanics
  • Laser interferometry
  • Travelling wave


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