This chapter describes the mechanical function of the cochlea, or inner ear, the organ that converts signals from acoustical to neural. Many cochlear hearing disorders are still not well understood. If systematic progress is to be made in improved diagnostics and treatment of these disorders, a clear understanding of basic principles is essential. Models of the cochlea are useful because they succinctly describe auditory perception principles. Several topics will be reviewed. First, the history of cochlear models, including extensions that have taken place in recent years. These models include both macromechanics and micromechanics of the tectorial membrane and hair cells. This leads to comparisons of the basilar membrane, hair cell, and neural frequency tuning. The role of nonlinear mechanics and dynamic range are covered to help the student understand the importance of modern wideband dynamic range compression hearing aids. Hearing loss, loudness recruitment, as well as other important topics of modern hearing health care, are briefly discussed
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