1pAB6 – Long-lasting suppression of spontaneous firing in inferior colliculus neurons: implication to the residual inhibition of tinnitus – A.V. Galazyuk

Long-lasting suppression of spontaneous firing in inferior colliculus neurons: implication to the residual inhibition of tinnitus

A.V. Galazyuk – agalaz@neomed.edu
Northeast Ohio Medical University


Popular version of poster 1pAB6
Presented Monday morning, November 2, 2015, 3:25 PM – 3:45 PM, City Terrace 9
170th ASA Meeting, Jacksonville

More than one hundred years ago, US clinician James Spalding first described an interesting phenomenon when he observed tinnitus patients suffering from perceived phantom ringing [1]. Many of his patients reported that a loud, long-lasting sound produced by violin or piano made their tinnitus disappear for about a minute after the sound was presented. Nearly 70 years later, the first scientific study was conducted to investigate how this phenomenon, termed residual inhibition, is able to provide tinnitus relief [2]. Further research into this phenomenon has been conducted to understand the basic properties of this “inhibition of ringing” and to identify what sounds are most effective at producing the residual inhibition [3].

The research indicated that indeed, residual inhibition is an internal mechanism for temporary tinnitus suppression. However, at present, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying residual inhibition. Increased knowledge about residual inhibition may not only shed light on the cause of tinnitus, but also may open an opportunity to develop an effective tinnitus treatment.

For the last four years we have studied a fascinating phenomenon of sound processing in neurons of the auditory system that may provide an explanation of what causes the residual inhibition in tinnitus patients. After presenting a sound to a normal hearing animal, we observed a phenomenon where firing activity of auditory neurons is suppressed [4, 5]. There are several striking similarities between this suppression in the normal auditory system and residual inhibition observed in tinnitus patients:

  1. Relatively loud sounds trigger both the neuronal firing suppression and residual inhibition.
  2. Both the suppression and residual inhibition last for the same amount of time after a sound, and increasing the duration of the sound makes both phenomena last longer.
  3. Simple tones produce more robust suppression and residual inhibition compared to complex sounds or noises.
  4. Multiple attempts to induce suppression or residual inhibition within a short timeframe make both much weaker.

These similarities make us believe that the normal sound-induced suppression of spontaneous firing is an underlying mechanism of residual inhibition.

The most unexpected outcome from our research is that the phenomenon of residual inhibition, which focuses on tinnitus patients, appears to be a natural feature of sound processing, because suppression was observed in both the normal hearing mice and in mice with tinnitus. If so, why is it that people with tinnitus experience residual inhibition whereas those without tinnitus do not?

It is well known that hyperactivity in auditory regions of the brain has been linked to tinnitus, meaning that in tinnitus, auditory neurons have elevated spontaneous firing rates [6]. The brain then interprets this hyperactivity as phantom sound. Therefore, suppression of this increased activity by a loud sound should lead to elimination or suppression of tinnitus. Normal hearing people also have this suppression occurring after loud sounds. However spontaneous firing of their auditory neurons remains low enough that they never perceive the phantom ringing that tinnitus sufferers do. Thus, even though there is suppression of neuronal firing by loud sounds in normal hearing people, it is not perceived.

Most importantly, our research has helped us identify a group of drugs that can alter this suppression response [5], as well as the spontaneous firing of the auditory neurons responsible for tinnitus. These drugs will be further investigated in our future research to develop effective tinnitus treatments.


This research was supported by the research grant RO1 DC011330 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the U.S. Public Health Service.




[1] Spalding J.A. (1903). Tinnitus, with a plea for its more accurate musical notation.

Archives of Otology, 32(4), 263-272.

[2] Feldmann H. (1971). Homolateral and contralateral masking of tinnitus by noise-bands and by pure tones. International Journal of Audiology, 10(3), 138-144.

[3] Roberts L.E. (2007). Residual inhibition. Progress in Brain Research, Tinnitus:

Pathophysiology and Treatment, Elsevier, 166, 487-495.

[4] Voytenko SV, Galazyuk AV. (2010) Suppression of spontaneous firing in inferior colliculus neurons during sound processing. Neuroscience 165: 1490-1500.

[5] Voytenko SV, Galazyuk AV (2011) mGluRs modulate neuronal firing in the auditory midbrain. Neurosci Lett. 492: 145-149

[6] Eggermont JJ, Roberts LE. (2015) Tinnitus: animal models and findings in humans. Cell Tissue Res. 361: 311-336.

4aEA2 – How soon can you use your new concrete driveway? –  Jinying Zhu

4aEA2 – How soon can you use your new concrete driveway? – Jinying Zhu

How soon can you use your new concrete driveway?

Jinying Zhu: jyzhu@unl.edu


Department of Civil Engineering

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

1110 S 67th St., Omaha, NE 68182, USA


Popular version of paper 4aEA2, “Monitoring hardening of concrete using ultrasonic guided waves” Presented Thursday morning, Nov. 5, 2015, 8:50 AM, ORLANDO room,
170th ASA Meeting, Jacksonville, FL


Concrete is the most commonly used construction material in the world. The performance of concrete structures is largely determined by properties of fresh concrete at early ages. Concrete gains strength through a chemical reaction between water and cement (hydration), which gradually change a fluid fresh concrete mix to a rigid and hard solid. The process is called setting and hardening.  It is important to measure the setting times, because you may not have enough time to mix and place concrete if the setting time is too early, while too late setting will cause delay in strength gain.  The setting and hardening process is affected by many parameters, including water and cement ratio, temperature, and chemical admixtures.  The standard method to test setting time is to measure penetration resistance of fresh concrete samples in laboratory, which may not represent the real condition in field.

Ultrasonic waves have been proposed to monitor the setting and hardening process of concrete by measuring wave velocity change. When concrete becomes hard, the stiffness increases, and the ultrasonic velocity also increases. The authors found there is a clear relationship between the shear wave velocity and the traditional penetration resistance. However, most ultrasonic tests measure a small volume of concrete sample in laboratory, and they are not suitable for field application. In this paper, the authors proposed an ultrasonic guided wave test method. Steel reinforcements (rebars) are used in most concrete structures. When ultrasonic guided waves propagate within rebar, they leak energy to surrounding concrete, and the energy leakage rate is proportion to the stiffness of concrete.  Ultrasonic waves can be introduced into rebars from one end and the echo signal will be received at the same end using the same ultrasonic sensor.  This test method has a simple test setup, and is able to monitor the concrete hardening process continuously.

Figure 2 shows guided wave echo signals measured on a 19mm diameter rebar embedded in concrete. It is clear that the signal amplitude decreases with the age of concrete (2 ~ 6 hours). The attenuation can be plotted vs. age for different cement/concrete mixes. Figure 3 shows the attenuation curves for 3 cement paste mixes. It is known that a cement mix with larger water cement ratio (w/c) will have slower strength gain, which agrees with the ultrasonic guided wave test, where the w/c=0.5 mix has lower attenuation rate.  When there is a void around the rebar, energy leakage will be less than the case without a void, which is also confirmed by the test result in Figure 3.

Summary: This study presents experimental results using ultrasonic guided waves to monitor concrete setting and hardening process. It shows the guided wave leakage attenuation is proportional to the stiffness change of fresh concrete. Therefore the leakage rate can be used to monitor the concrete strength gain at early ages. This study may have broader applications in other disciplines to measure mechanical property of material using guided wave.


Figure. 1 Principle of ultrasonic guided wave test.


Figure. 2 Ultrasonic echo signals measured in an embedded rebar for concrete age of 2~6 hours.


Figure. 3 Guided wave attenuation rate in a rebar embedded in different cement pastes.


2pAAa4 – Does it sound better behind Miles Davis’ back? – What would it sound like face-to-face? Rushing through a holographic sound image of the trumpet. – Franz Zotter, Matthias Frank

2pAAa4 – Does it sound better behind Miles Davis’ back? – What would it sound like face-to-face? Rushing through a holographic sound image of the trumpet. – Franz Zotter, Matthias Frank

Does it sound better behind Miles Davis’ back? – What would it sound like face-to-face? Rushing through a holographic sound image of the trumpet


Franz Zotter – zotter@iem.at

Matthias Frank – frank@iem.at

University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM)

Inffeldgasse 10/3, 8010 Graz, Austria


Popular version of paper 2pAAa4, “Challenges of musical instrument reproduction including directivity”

Presented Tuesday afternoon, November 3, 2015, 2:25 PM, Grand Ballroom 3

170th ASA Meeting, Jacksonville


In many of his concerts, Miles Davis used to play his trumpet facing away from the audience. Would it have made a difference had he faced the audience?


Unplugged acoustical instruments can feature a tremendously different timbre for different orientations. Musicians experience such effects while playing their instrument in different environments. Those lacking such experience can only learn about the so-called directivity of musical instruments from publications showing diagrams of measured timbral changes. Comprehensive publications from the nineteen sixties deliver remarkably detailed descriptions. And yet, it requires training to imagine how the timbral changes sound like by just looking at these diagrams.


In the new millennium, researchers built surrounding spheres of microphones that allow to record a holographic sound image of any musical instrument (Figure 1). This was done to get a more natural representation of instruments in virtual acoustic environments for games or computer-aided acoustic design. Alternatively, the holographic sound image can be played back in real environments using a compact spherical loudspeaker array (Figure 2).


Such a recording allows, for instance, to convey a tangible experience of how strongly the timbre and loudness of a trumpet changes with orientation. (Audio example 1) is an excerpt from a corresponding holographic sound image using 64 surrounding microphones. With each repetition of the excerpt, the recording position gradually moves from behind the instrumentalist to the face-to-face orientation.


While what was shown above was done under the exclusion of acoustical influences of the room, the new kind of holographic sound imagery is a key technology used to reproduce a fully convincing experience of a musical instrument within arbitrary rooms it is played in.



A surrounding sphere of 64 microphone was built at IEM (Fabian Hohl, 2009) to record holographic sound images of musical instruments. The photo (Fabian Hohl, 2009) shows Silvio Rether playing the trumpet.




The icosahedron as a housing of 20 loudspeakers (a compact spherial loudspeaker array) was built 2006 at IEM. It is a device to play back holographic sound images of musical instruments. Currently, it is used as a new tool in computer music to project sound into rooms utilizing wall reflections from different directions.

The photo (Franz Zotter, 2010) shows the icosahedral loudspeaker during concert rehearsals.


In the example, one can clearly hear the orientation-related timbral changes of the trumpet. The short excerpt is played in 7 repetitions, each time recorded at another position, moving from behind the trumpet player to the front. The piece “Gaelforce” by Peter Graham is performed by Silvio Rether, and the recording was done by Fabian Hohl at IEM using the sphere shown in Figure 1.


2aEAa5 – Miniature Directional Sound Sensor Inspired by Fly’s Ears – Daniel Wilmott, Fabio Alves, Gamani Karunasiri

2aEAa5 – Miniature Directional Sound Sensor Inspired by Fly’s Ears – Daniel Wilmott, Fabio Alves, Gamani Karunasiri

Miniature Directional Sound Sensor Inspired by Fly’s Ears

Daniel Wilmott – dwilmott@nps.edu

Fabio Alves – fdalves@nps.edu

Gamani Karunasiri – karunasiri@nps.edu

Department of Physics

Naval Postgraduate School

Monterey, CA 93943


Popular version of paper 2aEAa

Presented Tuesday morning, November 3, 2015

170th ASA Meeting, Jacksonville


Humans and animals that posses a relatively large separation between ears, compared to the wavelength of sound, utilize the delay of sound arrival between ears to sense its direction with relatively good accuracy.  This approach is less effective when the separation between ears is small, such as in insects.  However, the parasitic Ormia Ochracea fly is particularly adept at finding crickets by listening to their chirps, though the separation of their ears is much smaller than the wavelengths generated by the chirps. The female of this species seek out chirping crickets (see Fig. 1) to lay their eggs on, and do so with an accuracy of few degrees. The two eardrums of the fly are separated by a mere 1.5 millimeters (mm) yet it homes in on the cricket chirping with 50 times longer wavelength where the arrival time difference between ears is only a few millionths of a second.  It is interesting to note that Zuk and coworkers found that “between the late 1990s and 2003, in just 20 or so cricket generations, Kauai’s cricket population had evolved into an almost entirely silent one” to avoid detection by the flies.  The studies carried out on the fly’s hearing organ by Miles and coworkers in the mid-90s found that workings of the fly ears are different from that of the large species and are mechanically coupled at the middle and tuned to the cricket chirps giving them remarkable ability locate them.



Figure 1 Ormia Ochracea uses direction finding ears to locate crickets.


In this paper, we present a miniature directional sensor that was designed based on the fly’s ears, which consists of two wings connected in the middle using a bridge and fabricated using micro-electro-mechanical-system (MEMS) technology as shown in Fig. 2.  The sensor is made of the same material used in making microchips (silicon) with the two wings having dimensions 1 mm x 1 mm each and thickness of less than half the width of human hair (25 micrometers).  The sensor is tuned to a narrow frequency range, which depends on the size of the bridge that connects the two wings.  The vibration amplitudes of the sensor wings (less than one millionth of a meter) under sound excitation was electronically probed using highly sensitive comb finger capacitors (similar to tuning capacitors employed in older radios) attached to the edges of the wings.  It was found that the response of the sensor is highly directional (see Fig. 3) and matches well with the expected behavior.



Figure 2     Designed (left) and fabricated (right) directional sound sensor showing the comb finger capacitors for electronically measuring nanometer scale vibrations generated by incident sound.  The size of the entire sensor is less than that of a pea.



Figure 3     Measured directional response of the sensor tuned to 1.67 kHz for a set of sound pressures down to 33 dB.

The sensor was able to detect sound levels close to that of a quite whisper 30 decibel (dB) which is thousand times smaller than the sound level generated in a typical conversation (60 dB).  The sensor has many potential civilian and military applications involving localization of sound sources including explosions and gunshots.


2pABa9 – Energetically speaking, do all sounds that a dolphin makes cost the same? – Marla M. Holt, Dawn P. Noren

2pABa9 – Energetically speaking, do all sounds that a dolphin makes cost the same? – Marla M. Holt, Dawn P. Noren

Energetically speaking, do all sounds that a dolphin makes cost the same?


Marla M. Holt – marla.holt@noaa.gov

Dawn P. Noren – dawn.noren@noaa.gov

Conservation Biology Division

NOAA NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center

2725 Montlake Blvd East

Seattle WA, 98112


Robin C. Dunkin – rdunkin@ucsc.edu

Terrie M. Williams – tmwillia@ucsc.edu


Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

University of California, Santa Cruz

100 Shaffer Road

Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Popular version of paper 2pABa9, “The metabolic costs of producing clicks and social sounds differ in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).”

Presented Tuesday afternoon, November 3, 2015, 3:15, City Terrace room

170th ASA Meeting Jacksonville


Dolphins are known to be quite vocal, producing a variety of sounds described as whistles, squawks, barks, quacks, pops, buzzes and clicks.  These sounds can be tonal (think whistle) or broadband (think buzz), short or long, or loud or not.  Some sounds, such as whistles, are used in social contexts for communication.  Other sounds, such as clicks and buzzes, are used for echolocation, a form of active biosonar that is important for hunting fish [1].   Regardless of what type of sound a dolphin makes in its diverse vocal repertoire, sounds are generated in an anatomically unique way compared to other mammals.   Most mammals, including humans, make sound in their throats or technically, in the larynx.  In contrast, dolphins make sound in their nasal cavity via two sets of structures called the “phonic lips” [2].


All sound production comes at an energetic cost to the signaler [3].  That is, when an animal produces sound, metabolic rate increases a certain amount above baseline or resting (metabolic) rate.  Additionally, many vociferous animals, including dolphins and other marine mammals, modify their acoustic signals in noise.  That is, they call louder, longer or more often in an attempt to be heard above the background din.  Ocean noise levels are rising, particularly in some areas from shipping traffic and other anthropogenic activities and this motivated a series of recent studies to understand the metabolic costs of sound production and vocal modification in dolphins.


We recently measured the energetic cost for both social sound and click production in dolphins and determined if these costs increased when the animals increased the loudness or other parameters of their sounds [4,5].  Two bottlenose dolphins were trained to rest and vocalize under a specialized dome which allowed us to measure their metabolic rates while making different kinds of sounds and while resting (Figure 1).  The dolphins also wore an underwater microphone (a hydrophone embedded in a suction cup) on their foreheads to keep track of vocal performance during trials. The amount of metabolic energy that the dolphins used increased as the total acoustic energy of the vocal bout increased regardless of the type of sound the dolphin made.  The results clearly demonstrate that higher vocal effort results in higher energetic cost to the signaler.

Holt fig 1


Figure 1 – A dolphin participating in a trial to measure metabolic rates during sound production.  Trials were conducted in Dr. Terrie Williams’ Mammalian Physiology lab at the University of California Santa Cruz.  All procedures were approved by the UC Santa Cruz Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and conducted under US National Marine Fisheries Service permit No.13602.


These recent results allow us to compare metabolic costs of production of different sound types. However, the average total energy content of the sounds produced per trial was different depending on the dolphin subject and whether the dolphins were producing social sounds or clicks.  Since metabolic cost is dependent on vocal effort, metabolic cost comparisons across sound types need to be made for equal energy sound production.


The relationship between energetic cost and vocal effort for social sounds allowed us to predict metabolic costs of producing these sounds at the same sound energy as in click trials.  The results, shown in Figure 2, demonstrate that bottlenose dolphins produce clicks at a very small fraction of the metabolic cost of producing whistles of equal energy.  These findings are consistent with empirical observations demonstrating that considerably higher air pressure within the dolphin nasal passage is required to generate whistles compared to clicks [1].  This pressurized air is what powers sound production in dolphins and toothed whales [1] and mechanistically explains the observed difference in metabolic cost between the different sound types.


Holt fig 2


Figure 2 – Metabolic costs of producing social sounds and clicks of equal energy content within a dolphin subject.


Differences in metabolic costs of whistling versus clicking have implications for understanding the biological consequences of behavioral responses to ocean noise.  Across different sound types, metabolic costs depend on vocal effort.  Yet, overall costs of producing clicks are substantially lower than costs of producing whistles.  The results reported in this paper demonstrate that the biological consequences of vocal responses to noise can be quite different depending on the behavioral context of the animals affected, as well as the extent of the response.


  1. Au, W. W. L. The Sonar of Dolphins, New York: Springer-Verlag.
  2. Cranford, T. W., et al., Observation and analysis of sonar signal generation in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus): evidence for two sonar sources. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 2011. 407: p. 81-96.
  3. Ophir, A. G., Schrader, S. B. and Gillooly, J. F., Energetic cost of calling: general constraints and species-specific differences. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2010. 23: p. 1564-1569.
  4. Noren, D. P., Holt, M. M., Dunkin, R. C. and Williams, T. M. The metabolic cost of communicative sound production in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Journal of Experimental Biology, 2013. 216: 1624-1629.
  5. Holt, M. M., Noren, D. P., Dunkin, R. C. and Williams, T. M. Vocal performance affects metabolic rate in dolphins: implication for animals communicating in noisy environments. Journal of Experimental Biology, 2015. 218: 1647-1654.