A procedure for extracting the nonlinear component of the stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emission (SFOAE) is described. This nSFOAE measures the amount by which the cochlear response deviates from linear additivity when the input stimulus is doubled in amplitude. When a 4.0-kHz tone was presented alone, the magnitude of the nSFOAE response remained essentially constant throughout the 400-ms duration of the tone; response magnitude did increase monotonically with increasing tone level. When a wideband noise was presented alone, nSFOAE magnitude increased over the initial 100- to 200-ms portion of the 400-ms duration of the noise. When the tone and the wideband noise were presented simultaneously, nSFOAE magnitude decreased momentarily, then increased substantially for about the first 100 ms and then remained strong for the remainder of the presentation. Manipulations of the noise bandwidth revealed that the low-frequency components were primarily responsible for this rising, dynamic response; no rising segment was seen with bandpass or highpass noise. The rising, dynamic nSFOAE response is likely attributable to activation of the medial olivocochlear efferent system. This perstimulatory emission appears to have the potential to provide information about the earliest stages of auditory processing for stimuli commonly used in psychoacoustical tasks.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a research grant awarded to D.M. by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD 00153). K.P.W. conducted this and additional research on this topic while working on a Master’s degree at The University of Texas (). Early stages of the work were reported (, ). The work profited greatly from discussions with Dr. C. A. Champlin, Dr. E. A. Strickland, Dr. M. Wojtczak, and Dr. N. F. Viemeister. Comments from two anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged. 1