Modelling of outer hair cell damage and implications for hearing aid signal processing

Christian Giguère


Outer hair cell (OHC) damage is the cause of auditory disabilities. OHC loss leads to a basalward shift of the place of maximum vibration; a decreased gain near the characteristic place; a broadening of the tuning curves; an altered summation of activity across frequency components, and an altered temporal waveform. Hearing aids can compensate for the general loss of sensitivity and reduced dynamic range, but they cannot compensate completely for the reduced frequency selectivity associated with OHC damage. Basilar membrane (BM) vibration cannot be completely restored for pure tones, complex tones, vowels and for sounds where the BM excitation pattern is dominated by narrow band energy.


Acoustic signal processing; Audition; Computer simulation; Mathematical models; Vibrations (mechanical); Basilar membrane (BM); Outer hair cell (OHC); Sensorineural hearing loss

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