A piezoelectric model of outer hair cell function

J Acoust Soc Am. 1994 Jan;95(1):350-4. doi: 10.1121/1.408273.


Mammalian outer hair cells (OHC) are believed to increase cochlear sensitivity and frequency selectivity via electromechanical feedback. A simple piezoelectric model of outer hair cell function is presented which integrates existing data from isolated OHC experiments. The model predicts maximum OHC force production to equal 1.25 nN/mV. The model also predicts that the maximum velocity of OHC contraction in situ to be 800 microns/s. These predictions are compared to available experimental data and are found to be in good agreement. The good agreement between the predicted and experimental results suggests that, at the characteristic frequency of a given cochlear location, the OHC receptor current is very efficiently converted into basilar membrane motion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Basilar Membrane / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer / physiology*
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Pitch Perception / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*