Franziska Immke (B.Sc.)

M.Sc. Student

About my Project

Stimulus specific adaptation in humans using DPOAE measurements

This study aims to investigate the phenomenon of stimulus-specific adaptation (short: SSA) by measuring distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (short: DPOAE) in the human cochlea.

Distortion-product otoacoustic emissions can be evoked by a two-tone stimulation and are well detectable with a microphone in front of the tympanum. DPOAE are produced by nonlinear mechanical amplification of low level sound in the cochlea and can be used as a tool to derive cochlear sensitivity and sharpness of cochlear frequency tuning. Stimulus-specific adaptation refers to a reduction in the response of a neuron to a repeatedly presented sound stimulus. At the same time, it remains sensitive to rarely presented sounds (Ulanovsky et al 2003). SSA has already been detected in humans by EEG-Measurements (Briley et al. 2013), but there is a lack of knowledge about the underlying neuronal mechanisms.

In previous experiments, we were able to detect frequency-specific, as well as level-dependent amplifications of the SSA effect (also by measuring DPOAE) in anaesthetized rodents. The main aim of this study is to extend these findings on awake humans. It will be further investigated whether SSA can possibly influence the subjective loudness perception.

During the measurements the participants are sitting in a comfortable chair in a sound-proof chamber. The coupler, which contains the microphone and two speakers, is placed in front of the tympanum, similar to in-ear headphones. The sound levels of the used sound stimuli do not exceed 80 dB SPL and correspond therefore to the volume range from soft to loud speech. Thus, the presented stimuli cannot cause sound-damage to the ear.

For further information, questions or for joining this study, please feel free to contact.


Franziska Immke

Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
Institute for Cellbiology and Neuroscience

AK Neurobiology and Biological Sensors

Campus Riedberg
Biologicum, building part A, 3rd floor
Max-von Laue-Straße 13
60438 Frankfurt am Main

Room:  3.125
Email:   immke(at)chemie.uni-
Phone: +49 69 / 798-45076