Evoked and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions were recorded bilaterally in a group of normal subjects (n = 14) using clicks and tonebursts at four frequencies (0.5, 1, 1.5, and 3 kHz). All ears (n = 28) demonstrated evoked emissions, but not to every stimulus type. The 0.5-kHz toneburst evoked emissions in only 10 (36%) ears, the 1.5-kHz toneburst in all ears, and the remaining stimuli in at least 80% of ears. Two distinct patterns of evoked emissions were identified. Five (18%) ears showed short, broadband click-evoked emissions lasting less than 20 ms after stimulus onset. In these ears, toneburst-evoked emissions were often more prominent than click-evoked emissions and no spontaneous emissions were detected. Twenty-three (82%) ears showed click-evoked emissions lasting longer than 20 ms poststimulus onset. Spectral analysis of these emissions demonstrated several (2-10) narrow frequency peaks. Highly similar peaks were present in the spectra of toneburst-evoked emissions within the range of toneburst spectra. Spontaneous emissions were recorded in 12 of the 23 ears. In these ears, at the frequencies of spontaneous emissions, prominent peaks in both click- and toneburst-evoked emission spectra were always present. Otoacoustic emission characteristics correlated significantly between the ears of individual subjects inferring that a symmetrical cochlear mechanism generates otoacoustic emissions.