Many of the aspects of the interaction of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions with external tones (suppression and synchronization) can be qualitatively simulated by the behavior of a single driven Van der Pol oscillator. Analytical and numerical investigations of a model of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions based on such an oscillator (with appropriate parametric changes in the nonlinear and negative damping components) lead to predictions of the nature of the changes in suppression and synchronization (frequency-locking) tuning curves when the levels of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions are modified. Observations of the suppression and synchronization of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions by external tones of different frequencies and levels were obtained while the levels of spontaneous emissions were altered by aspirin administration. Modeling an emission as a single Van der Pol oscillator qualitatively accounts for: (1) the reduction of the level of an external tone required to suppress the emission by a decibel amount equivalent to the level reduction induced by aspirin administration; (2) the broadening of the frequency-locking tuning curve of an emission whose level is reduced; and (3) the pulling of the emission frequency by an external tone. It does not account for: (1) the observed asymmetry in the slopes of the external-tone suppression curves (more gradual for frequencies of the suppressor tone higher, rather than lower, than that of the emission); and (2) the frequency pushing of the emission by an external tone.