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Medicinski pregled 2003 Volume 56, Issue 3-4, Pages: 124-130
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Contralateral acoustic suppression of transient evoked otoacoustic emissions: Activation of the medial olivocochlear system

Komazec Zoran, Filipović Danka, Milošević Dušan

Medial olivocochlear pathway represents the final part of efferent acoustic pathway which comes from the superior olivary complex ending at outer hair cells. Activation of medial olivocochlear system (MOCS) alters the cochlear output decreasing the travelling wave within cochlea. Stimulation of MOCS provides protection against moderate levels of noise, encoding noise signals as well as selecting hearing attention. Activation of MOCS can be performed using contralateral acoustic stimulation. The principal result of presentation of contralateral acoustic stimulation during screening of transient evoked otoacoustic emission (TEOAE) is an attenuation of the TEOAE amplitude. Thirty-eight ears were examined in this study: twenty-eight ears from 14 normal-hearing adults and 10 patients with unilateral deafness. Healthy subjects were exposed to contralateral broad-band noise of various intensities (40, 30, 20 and 10 dB SL), as well as 30 dB SL pure tone stimulation (1 kHz and 4 kHz). A decrease of TEOAE amplitudes during contralateral stimulation with 40 and 30 dB SL broad-band noise and pure tones was established. This effect was a result of MOCS activation. A greater intensity of contralateral stimulation evoked greater decrease of TEOAE amplitude; stimulation with broad-band noise caused greater attenuation than with pure tone stimulation. Contralateral stimulation of deaf ears in the group with unilateral deafness was also performed. Statistically significant difference between TEOAE amplitude before and during contralateral stimulation was not established. This circumstance explains that activation of MOCS and consequent reduction of outer hair cells motility is very possibly caused by contralateral acoustic stimulation. Apart from studying physiological significance of efferent auditory system, results of this and similar studies can be used for production of hearing aids improving speech discrimination in noisy environment.

Keywords: auditory pathways, otoacoustic emissions, spontaneous, cochlea + physiology, noise, deafness

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