Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 161-165

Thermal noise and the incessant vibration of the outer hair cells in the cochlea

1ENT Department, University of Vienna Medical School, Vienna, Austria
2Allgemeines Krankenhaus, Währinger Gürtel 18, Vienna A- 1090, Austria

Received 5 December 1997

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The continual exposure of outer hair cells (OHCs) to thermal noise causes vibrations in resonant frequency. As these vibrations are backprojected, they should be recordable as audiofrequencies in the outer ear canal. But even though they are likely to be amplified in some areas by clustering in terms of the chaos theory, they cannot be picked up in the outer ear canal by currently available recording technologies. Conditions change in the presence of pathology, e.g. loss of OHCs and fibrous replacement: Clusters grow in size and amplitudes become larger so that the vibrations can be picked up as spontaneous oto-acoustic emissions (SOAEs) in the outer ear canal. Efforts are needed to demonstrate the presence of physiological OHC vibrations (emission by incessant vibration, EIV) by processing auditory recordings with statistical methods.