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A critical review of experimental observations on ear-drum structure and function.


This paper presents a review of the experimental data available concerning ear-drum structure, properties and behaviour, in order to provide a basis for quantitative modelling and to identify areas where further information is required. The review of anatomy and structure indicates a lack of quantitative data about thickness, fibre distribution, three-dimensional curvature, and post-natal development. The mechanical properties of the ear-drum and attached structures are very poorly known, particularly with respect to isotropy, uniformity and damping. A historical review of observations of ear-drum vibration patterns shows general agreement that at low frequencies the displacements of the manubrium are smaller than those of the surrounding drum. Possible reasons are suggested for the apparent incompatibility of Békésy's capacitive-probe measurements with this picture.

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