# Does the frequency discrimination of the outer hair cells of the ear increase with sound pressure?

I'm wondering whether the frequency resolution of the inner ear increases/decreases with the volume level (caused by sound pressure $$(N/m^2)$$.

My assumption would be that as long as the pressure level is high enough to cause a pressure wave in the scala media/corti-organ, the frequency discrimination has nothing to do with the volume level.

There doesn't seem to be any information regarding this question!

Let me give an example to illustrate better what my question is:

If I have a sound with $$20 \ dB$$ and a certain frequency $$1000\ Hz$$ will the ability to judge the note (frequency) increase or decrease with the pressure?

• Do you mean the inner hair cells? Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 15:54
• lol no, i think they are called outer hair cells; also there are inner hair cells and outer hair cells, the outer ones are responsible for frequency discrimnation, so i want to know whether or not that depends on the pressure/volume or not or if there is a optimal pressure level where frequency discrimination is the ighest Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 16:52
• The outer hair cells are "motor" cells, mechanical amplifiers. Inner hair cells are the ones behind perception (aka frequency discrimination). You still could really mean the outer hair cells, because they also respond to sound, but their function is to modulate the response of inner hair cells. Also, why are you differentiating between volume and pressure (do you mean to?) A 20 dB 1 kHz sound is a sound of a specific volume; if you change the pressure it is no longer 20 dB. Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 17:07

Well I found an answer: the optimal range (highest possible frequency discrimination) is supposedly at $$1 dB$$ so it does not increase with soundpressure/volume