Re: Bite-induced pitch shift? (Martin Braun )

Subject: Re: Bite-induced pitch shift?
From:    Martin Braun  <nombraun(at)TELIA.COM>
Date:    Fri, 20 Jun 2003 17:45:48 +0200

The most simple explanation would be that Bob heard a level effect instead of a pitch effect. It is notorious that both are confused easily. Possibly he triggered his middle ear muscles. The relevant paper on the issue is this one: Burns EM, Harrison WA, Bulen JC, Keefe DH (1993) Voluntary contraction of middle ear muscles: effects on input impedance, energy reflectance and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions. Hear Res 67, 117-127. Abstract Two types of measurements were performed on a subject able to voluntarily contract her middle ear muscles (MEM). First, wideband measurements (0-11 kHz) of middle ear input impedance and energy reflectance were obtained when the subject was relaxed and when she contracted her MEM. The changes in impedance observed with voluntary MEM contraction were similar to those reported in the literature for acoustically-elicited MEM contractions. The energy reflectance increased for frequencies below about 4 kHz. Second, the effects of voluntary MEM contraction on the frequencies and levels of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) were measured and compared to effects evoked by contralateral acoustic stimulation. Effects on SOAEs appear to be a more sensitive indicator of MEM activity than changes in impedance, and the effects due to voluntary MEM contraction were qualitatively similar to those evoked by contralateral acoustic stimulation. These results suggest that in subjects with normally-functioning middle ears, only some effects on otoacoustic emissions caused by contralateral stimuli whose levels are below the contralateral acoustic reflex threshold can be unequivocally attributed to the action of cochlear efferents. The temporal aspects of SOAE frequency shifts caused by voluntary contraction of MEM show that voluntary contraction fatigues rapidly over a time period of tens of seconds. Martin ------------------------------------------- Martin Braun Neuroscience of Music S-671 95 Klassbol Sweden web site: ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bob Masta" <masta(at)UMICH.EDU> To: <AUDITORY(at)LISTS.MCGILL.CA> Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2003 9:45 PM Subject: Bite-induced pitch shift? > Dear List: > > In the June 9 issue of Electronic Design <> > analog electronics guru Bob Pease mentions that when he bites down > hard "on some tough nuts or a popcorn cake, the pitch seems to > dip momentarily by about half a note". > > Has anyone heard of a phenomenon like this? (The effect doesn't > seem to work for me, at least not when biting down on a plastic > toothbrush handle.) He wonders what can cause this. If this is > truly a pitch shift and not a resonance envelope (formant) shift > due to distorting the ear canal, could it be deforming the cochlea > such that the stiffness of the basilar membrane is changed? > Seems pretty extreme! Any ideas?

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