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Re: Traveling waves or resonance?

On Friday, October 15, Andrew Bell wrote:

> .... Happily,
> progress has been made in my endeavours to revive a resonance theory of
> hearing

Current knowledge on resonance, traveling waves, and amplifiers in the inner
ear goes well beyond that what Andrew Bell now reviews. Also, the main parts
of this information is easily accessible on the web.

I would like to comment, however, on two popular misconceptions, which were
now repeated again, and for which no, or very little, information is
available on the web.

1) Thomas Gold predicted the cochlear amplifier, but not otoacoustic
emissions (OAEs). The "ringing in the ear" which he tried to measure, was
tonal tinnitus, which, in the vast majority of cases, has nothing to do with
OAEs. Such tinnitus is nearly always neurally based and can never be picked
up with any microphone.

2) Gold's argument that the inner ear "needed" a mechanical amplifier before
the stage of neural transmission is actually quite silly. Other sensory
organs have their amplification cascades on a biochemical level within the
sensory cells. The same also works in hearing. Only birds and mammals have
specialized mechanical pre-amp cells, as an additional mechanism. This
"design" provides several advantages, but it is by no means a precondition
of hyper-sensitive hearing.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klšssbol
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm