High auditory sensitivity, sharp frequency selectivity, and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions are signatures of active amplification of the cochlea. The human ear can also detect very large amplitude sounds without being damaged, as long as the exposed time is not too long. The outer hair cells are believed to be the best candidate for the active force generator of the mammalian cochlea. In this paper, we propose a new model for the basilar membrane oscillation which describes both an active and a protective mechanism by employing an energy depot concept and a critical velocity of the basilar membrane. The compressive response of the basilar membrane at the characteristic frequency and the dynamic response to the stimulation are consistent with the experimental results. Although our model displays a Hopf bifurcation, our braking mechanism results in a hyper-compressive response to intense stimuli which is not generically observed near a Hopf bifurcation. Asymmetry seen in experimental recordings between the onset and the offset of the basilar membrane response to a sound burst is also observed in this model.