Directionality of sound pressure transformation at the cats pinna
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 degrees 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'.