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J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Feb;133(2):918-37. doi: 10.1121/1.4773263.

Wave motion on the surface of the human tympanic membrane: holographic measurement and modeling analysis.

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Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Sound-induced motions of the surface of the tympanic membrane (TM) were measured using stroboscopic holography in cadaveric human temporal bones at frequencies between 0.2 and 18 kHz. The results are consistent with the combination of standing-wave-like modal motions and traveling-wave-like motions on the TM surface. The holographic techniques also quantified sound-induced displacements of the umbo of the malleus, as well as volume velocity of the TM. These measurements were combined with sound-pressure measurements near the TM to compute middle-ear input impedance and power reflectance at the TM. The results are generally consistent with other published data. A phenomenological model that behaved qualitatively like the data was used to quantify the relative magnitude and spatial frequencies of the modal and traveling-wave-like displacement components on the TM surface. This model suggests the modal magnitudes are generally larger than those of the putative traveling waves, and the computed wave speeds are much slower than wave speeds predicted by estimates of middle-ear delay. While the data are inconsistent with simple modal displacements of the TM, an alternate model based on the combination of modal motions in a lossy membrane can also explain these measurements without invoking traveling waves.

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