Medical Definition of Tonotopic

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Tonotopic: Pertaining to the spatial arrangement of where sound is perceived, transmitted, or received. There is tonotopy in the cochlea, the small snail-like structure in the inner ear that sends information about sound to the brain. There is also tonotopy in the human auditory cortex, that part of the brain that receives and interprets sound information. From tono- + the Greek topos meaning place = the place of tones.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018