Human Medial Olivocochlear Reflex: Contralateral Activation Effect on Low and High Frequency Cochlear Microphonic


The role of the medial olivocochlear (MOC) reflex has been investigated by assessing changes of cochlear responses (CR) in humans. The CR consists of pre-neural and neural potentials originating from the inner ear, and at high signal levels is dominated by cochlear microphonic (CM). The CM originates from the outer hair cells, where the MOC fibers synapse, and there is little research about using it to investigate the MOC reflex in humans. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of contralateral activation of the MOC reflex on the CR in humans. The CR was recorded in female adults (n = 16) to 500 and 2000 Hz tone burst stimuli presented at 80 dB nHL with and without contralateral broadband noise (CBBN) at 40 dB SPL. Two different methods were utilized to quantify and analyze the CR data: peak amplitude and power spectrum. Results revealed enhancement of the CR amplitude with activation of the MOC reflex. Furthermore, on average, enhancement in the CR amplitude was observed to 500 Hz, but not 2000 Hz stimulus. The CR power spectrum findings revealed similar findings to the peak amplitude. These findings indicate the MOC effect is measurable when using a low frequency stimulus, but not high frequency. Moreover, the CR could be used as a potential tool to study the MOC reflex in humans.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

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Hearing Research