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Definitive tests of Bell resonance theory?


In describing your resonance theory you write...

> I have sought to ... develop a true
> resonance theory in which outer hair cells sense the common-mode pressure in
> the cochlea. [The theory] calls on the body of the OHCs to respond to fast
> intracochlear pressure and in reacting (OHC2 in-phase to pressure; OHC1&3 in
> antiphase to pressure) to create a surface acoustic wave (SAW) resonator.
> [As a result]  it is the fast compressional wave that sets up a  pressure
> in the cochlea which launches more slowly evolving wave activity.

To the extent that I understand all this, I believe that a definitive test of
hypothesis has already been performed; the results appear to contradict your

In their paper  "Is the pressure difference between the
oval and round windows the effective acoustic stimulus for the cochlea?"
(JASA 100:1602-1616), Voss et al. compare cochlear potential responses
to common- and difference mode pressure inputs at the oval and round windows.
They find that the response to the pressure difference mode is approximately 2
of magnitude larger than the response to the common mode (with the limit set
in large part by limits in their ability to measure extremely small pressure
Naively, at least, this seems to contradict your model, which suggests that the
common pressure mode within the cochlea constitutes the effective stimulus to
the ear.

You also write...

> If OHCs are pressure detectors, it follows that they must possess
> some compressibility.

In their ARO abstract (1996, #227), Ravicz et al. measure
the compressibility of the cochlea. Their results are consistent with the
known compressibility of water. Of course, these measurements were performed
in a temporal bone preparation, so their applicability to the living ear is
uncertain. Whether or not they contradict your model depends on the
mechanism by which the OHCs are supposed to compress and on what the
value of their compressibility is predicted to be.

Perhaps you can address these issues in your submission to JASA.

-Christopher Shera

Christopher Shera                               617-573-4235 voice
Eaton-Peabody Laboratory                        617-720-4408 fax
243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114-3096       http://epl.harvard.edu
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