Directionality of sound pressure transformation at the cat's pinna

Dennis P. Phillips, Michael B. Calford, John D. Pettigrew, Lindsay M. Aitkin, Malcolm N. Semple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The directionality of the cat's pinna was studied by using the amplitude of the cochlear microphonic (CM) as a quantitative indicator of tympanic sound pressure level (SPL). It was found that tympanic SPL varied with the location of a free field stimulator in anechoic space. For high (tonal) frequencies, there was a circumscribed optimal area for tympanic SPL in the frontal ipsilateral sound field, in confirmation of previous findings with other techniques that the pinna has an acoustical axis. The directionality of the pinna, determined from the solid angle enclosed by the 5 dB isointensity-decrement line with respect to the optimal position, increased with frequency. For low tonal frequencies, no circumscribed optimal area in the frontal sound field could be distinguished, and tympanic SPL fell by only 10-12 dB for displacements of 90° into the contralateral sound field. Excision of the pinna abolished the circumscribed optimal areas for tympanic SPL and revealed the pinna produces up to 28 dB amplification of acoustic signals delivered 'on-axis'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-28
Number of pages16
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1982


  • cochlear microphonic
  • pinna
  • sound localization
  • sound pressure transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Directionality of sound pressure transformation at the cat's pinna'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this