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Aftereffects of Intense Low-Frequency Sound on Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions: Effect of Frequency and Level

J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 18: 111-119. doi: 10.1007/s10162-016-0590-8. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Authors/Editors: Jeanson L
Wiegrebe L
G├╝rkov R
Krause E
Drexl M
Publication Date: 2017
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2017


The presentation of intense, low-frequency (LF) sound to the human ear can cause very slow, sinusoidal oscillations of cochlear sensitivity after LF sound offset, coined the "Bounce" phenomenon. Changes in level and frequency of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) are a sensitive measure of the Bounce. Here, we investigated the effect of LF sound level and frequency on the Bounce. Specifically, the level of SOAEs was tracked for minutes before and after a 90-s LF sound exposure. Trials were carried out with several LF sound levels (93 to 108 dB SPL corresponding to 47 to 75 phons at a fixed frequency of 30 Hz) and different LF sound frequencies (30, 60, 120, 240 and 480 Hz at a fixed loudness level of 80 phons). At an LF sound frequency of 30 Hz, a minimal sound level of 102 dB SPL (64 phons) was sufficient to elicit a significant Bounce. In some subjects, however, 93 dB SPL (47 phons), the lowest level used, was sufficient to elicit the Bounce phenomenon and actual thresholds could have been even lower. Measurements with different LF sound frequencies showed a mild reduction of the Bounce phenomenon with increasing LF sound frequency. This indicates that the strength of the Bounce not only is a simple function of the spectral separation between SOAE and LF sound frequency but also depends on absolute LF sound frequency, possibly related to the magnitude of the AC component of the outer hair cell receptor potential.

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