Bandwidth dependency of cochlear centrifugal pathways in modulating hearing desensitization caused by loud sound

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Centrifugal olivocochlear (OC) pathways modulate cochlear hearing desensitization induced by loud sounds, but there is a null point, determined by sound bandwidth, for this effect. In a previous study, using loud sounds from the region of greatest hearing sensitivity in cats, OC pathways did not affect desensitization induced by 2-kHz wide noise, but did to narrower bandwidth (tones) or broader bandwidth (3.5 kHz-wide or 5 kHz-wide noise) trauma from the same cochlear region. The bandwidth null-point effect occurred in three very different conditions in which OC pathways modulated losses to narrower or broader bandwidth traumata, confirming the robustness of this phenomenon, and was also true for sub-component OC pathways: neither crossed nor uncrossed OC pathways individually modulated desensitization to that 2 kHz-wide noise. The medial olivocochlear system (MOCS) that is most likely to have modulated desensitization in that study, varies in its cochlear distribution; in cats, densest innervation is in the region of greatest hearing sensitivity and the decrease away from that region means MOCS effects there may not translate to other regions. This hypothesis was now tested in lower- (around 4 kHz) and higher- (around 18 kHz) frequency cochlear regions. Across this fairly large cochlear swath, no OC modulation of desensitization occurred to 2-kHz-wide bandwidth sounds, but did to broader bandwidth; thus the bandwidth dependency was constant across this swath. However, when OC effects did occur, the pattern of effects of OC sub-components could be idiosyncratic to sound bandwidth and cochlear region even for similar net OC effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103 - 1113
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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