This paper describes a model for generating the hair cell receptor potential based on a second-orderBoltzmann function. The model includes only the resistive elements of the hair cell membranes withbatteries across them and the series resistance of the external return path of the transducer currentthrough the tissue of the cochlea. The model provides a qualitative description of signal processingby the hair cell transducer and shows that the nonlinearity of the hair cell transducer can give riseto nonlinear phenomena, such as intermodulation distortion products and two-tone suppression withpatterns similar to those which have been recorded from the peripheral auditory system. Particularoutcomes of the model are the demonstration that two-tone suppression depends not on thesaturation of the receptor current, but on the behaviour of the hair cell transducer function close tothe operating point. The model also shows that there is non-monotonic growth and phase change forany spectral component, but not for the fundamental of the receptor potential.