Nonlinear explanation for bone-conducted ultrasonic hearing.Hear Res. 2005 Jun; 204(1-2):210-5.HR
Human listeners can perceive speech from a voice-modulated ultrasonic carrier presented via a bone-conduction stimulator. This study explored the psychoacoustic characteristics and underlying mechanisms of ultrasonic hearing by measuring difference limens for frequency (DLF) for pure tones modulated onto ultrasonic carriers. Human subjects were presented with two pulsed tones and asked to judge whether the first or the second had the higher pitch. When amplitude modulation was based on a double side-band transmitted carrier, the DLFs were as small as those from the air-conducted pure tones at 0.25-4 kHz. Ultrasounds yielded larger DLFs for tones with low (0.125 kHz) and high (6-8 kHz) frequencies. Results were essentially identical between the two types of carriers, sine wave (30 kHz) and bandpass noise (30+/-4 kHz), despite the different bandwidths in the ultrasonic range. When amplitude modulation was based on a double side-band suppressed carrier, DLFs corresponded to those from tones with double frequencies. These results suggest nonlinear conduction that demodulates audible signals from ultrasounds and provides inputs to the cochlea.