Origin of Suppression of Otoacoustic Emissions Evoked by Two-Tone Bursts

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Otoacoustic emission (OAE) data recorded for tone bursts presented separately and as a two-tone burst complex, that had been reported previously [Yoshikawa, H., Smurzynski, J., Probst R., 2000. Suppression of tone burst evoked otoacoustic emissions in relation to frequency separation. Hear. Res. 148, 95–106], were re-processed using the method of adaptive approximations by matching pursuit (MP). Two types of stimuli were applied to record tone burst OAEs (TBOAEs): (a) cosine-windowed tone bursts of 5-ms duration with center frequencies of 1, 1.5, 2 and 3kHz, (b) complex stimuli consisting of a digital addition of the 1-kHz tone burst together with either the 1.5-, 2- or 3-kHz tone burst. The MP method allowed decomposition of signals into waveforms of defined frequency, latency, time span, and amplitude. This approach provided a high time–frequency (t–f) resolution and identified patterns of resonance modes that were characteristic for TBOAEs recorded in each individual ear. Individual responses to single-tone bursts were processed off-line to form ‘sum of singles’ responses. The results confirmed linear superposition behavior for a frequency separation of two-tone bursts of 2kHz (the 1-kHz and 3-kHz condition). For the 1, 1.5-kHz condition, the MP results revealed the existence of closely positioned resonance modes associated with responses recorded individually with the stimuli differing in frequency by 500Hz. Then, the differences between t–f distributions calculated for dual (two-tone bursts) and sum-of-singles conditions exhibited mutual suppression of resonance modes common to both stimuli. The degree of attenuation depended on the individual pattern of characteristic resonance modes, i.e., suppression occurred when two resonant modes excited by both stimuli overlapped. It was postulated that the suppression observed in case of dual stimuli with closely-spaced components is due to mutual attenuation of the overlapping resonance modes.