Level dependence of distortion product otoacoustic emission phase is attributed to component mixing

Carolina Abdala*, Sumitrajit Dhar, Radha Kalluri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) measured in the ear canal represent the vector sum of components produced at two regions of the basilar membrane by distinct cochlear mechanisms. In this study, the effect of stimulus level on the 2f1 - f2 DPOAE phase was evaluated in 22 adult subjects across a three-octave range. Level effects were examined for the mixed DPOAE signal measured in the ear canal and after unmixing components to assess level effects individually on the distortion (generated at the f 1, f2 overlap) and reflection (at fdp) sources. Results show that ear canal DPOAE phase slope becomes steeper with decreasing level; however, component analysis further explicates this result, indicating that interference between DPOAE components (rather than a shift in mechanics related to distortion generation) drives the level dependence of DPOAE phase measured in the ear canal. The relative contribution from the reflection source increased with decreasing level, producing more component interference and, at times, a reflection-dominated response at the lowest stimulus levels. These results have implications for the use of DPOAE phase to study cochlear mechanics and for the potential application of DPOAE phase for clinical purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3123-3133
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


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