Cochlear efferent innervation and function

Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010 Oct;18(5):447-53. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e32833e05d6.


Purpose of review: This review covers topics relevant to olivocochlear-efferent anatomy and function for which there are new findings in papers from 2009 to early 2010.

Recent findings: Work within the review period has increased our understanding of medial olivocochlear (MOC) mechanisms in outer hair cells, MOC-reflex tuning, MOC effects on distortion product otoacoustic emissions, the time course of MOC effects, MOC effects in psychophysical tests and on understanding speech, MOC effects in attention and learning, and lateral efferent function in binaural hearing. In addition, there are new insights into efferent molecular mechanisms and their effect on cochlear development.

Summary: Techniques for measuring efferent effects using otoacoustic emissions are now well developed and have promise in clinical applications ranging from predicting which patients are susceptible to acoustic trauma to characterizing relationships between efferent activation and learning disabilities. To realize this promise, studies are needed in which these techniques are applied with high standards.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cochlea / innervation*
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Humans
  • Olivary Nucleus / physiology