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The University of Southampton

Cochlear mechanics and its importance for our hearing  Seminar

13:00 - 13:40
6 January 2021
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Event details

HABC Seminar

The cochlea converts sounds that come in through our ear canal into electrical signals that travel in the nerves of the auditory pathway into the brain. It is much more than a simple microphone, however, since different frequencies are ordered into different places along the cochlea, selectivity, and it amplifies weak sounds so that they are large enough to trigger a neural response, sensitivity. The selectivity comes about because of a wave that travels along the cochlea, whose speed depends on the frequency. The sensitivity is achieved by an amplification mechanism driven by the outer hair cells within the organ of Corti. This “cochlear amplifier” is physiologically vulnerable and is one of the first things that is compromised in age-related hearing loss. Cochlear mechanics is even important in patients who have some residual acoustic hearing when fitted with cochlear implants, since the physical presence of the cochlear implant can interfere with the wave that generates the low frequency residual acoustic hearing.

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Speaker information

Steve Elliott, Professor at the ISVR, in Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

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