ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

2pPP4. Cochlear potentials and Davis.

Peter Dallos

Auditory Physiology Lab., Northwestern Univ., 2299 North Campus Dr., Evanston, IL 60208

Before the advent of contemporary recordings of basilar membrane movements and intracellular responses from hair cells, cochlear potentials provided a means of deciphering cochlear mechanics and physiology. These gross potentials reflect extracellular currents produced by hair cells in response to sound, they consist of phasic and tonic components: The cochlear microphonic (CM) and the summating potential (SP). Davis and his colleagues pioneered the use of these responses to infer the properties of the traveling wave, to determine the sources of the various recordable response components and to probe their role in the hearing process. They also introduced various methods of artificially altering the cochlear environment in order to selectively modify responses and thus probe their properties. When examined in the light of more contemporary measurements, the early work appears remarkably prescient and enduring. [Work supported by the NIH.]