Pinna-based spectral cues for sound localization in cat

Hear Res. 1992 Mar;58(2):132-52. doi: 10.1016/0378-5955(92)90123-5.


The directional dependence of the transfer function from free field plane waves to a point near the tympanic membrane (TM) was measured in anesthetized domestic cats. A probe tube microphone was placed approximately 3 mm from the TM from beneath the head in order to keep the pinna intact. Transfer functions were computed as the ratio of the spectrum of a click recorded near the TM to the spectrum of the click in freefield. We analyze the transfer functions in three frequency ranges: low frequencies (less than 5 kHz) where interaural level differences vary smoothly with azimuth; midfrequencies (5-18 kHz) where a prominent spectral notch is observed; and high frequencies (greater than 18 kHz) where the transfer functions vary greatly with source location. Because no two source directions produce the same transfer function, the spectrum of a broadband sound at the TM could serve as a sound localization cue for both elevation and azimuth. In particular, we show that source direction is uniquely determined, for source directions in front of the cat, from the frequencies of the midfrequency spectral notches in the two ears. The validity of the transfer functions as measures of the acoustic input to the auditory system is considered in terms of models of sound propagation in the ear canal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Ear, External / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Pressure
  • Sound Localization / physiology*
  • Tympanic Membrane / physiology