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cochlea paradox

Hello List,

As I work on the mathematics of my “hearing theory” I have asked questions about the Hilbert Transform, The Fourier Transform, and a lot of other items. Most of these were because I could not see the forest because of the trees. Now I have another question which relates to my ideas as to the function of the cochlea. My understanding is that the Inner hair cells (IHC) are the ones which perform the transduction. There are in the human approximately 3500 IHC. Every paper I have reviewed seems to indicate that at a high enough input level there should then be 3500 distinguishable frequencies. In my theory I require the determination of not only the amplitude but also the phase (relative to the phase at the stapes). Thus with 3500 transducers the maximum number of frequencies at which (with my mathematics) I can obtain both the amplitude and phase is therefore 1750 or less. Since this is what my theory predicts I went looking through the literature. I found: Figure 63 [page 153]in: ”HEARING” by Stevens & Davis Wiley 1938. Very very careful workers and I was very pleasantly surprised that the above mentioned figure gives the number of distinguishable frequencies ranging from 1426 between 70 and 80 dB and rising slowly until between 100 and 110 dB the number of distinguishable frequencies still only 1527. This is in line with the predictions of my mathematics but in complete contrast to present (I think) models.

Can anyone explain the paradox between present theory and Figure 63.


Fred Herzfeld, MIT '54
78 Glynn Marsh Drive #59
Brunswick, Ga.31525