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J Acoust Soc Am. 2019 Mar;145(3):1569. doi: 10.1121/1.5094776.

Sound pressure distribution within human ear canals: II. Reverse mechanical stimulation.

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


This work is part of a study of the interactions of ear canal (EC) sound with tympanic membrane (TM) surface displacements. In human temporal bones, the ossicles were stimulated mechanically "in reverse" to mimic otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), and the sound field within the ear canal was sampled with 0.5-2 mm spacing near the TM surface and at more distal locations within the EC, including along the longitudinal EC axis. Sound fields were measured with the EC open or occluded. The reverse-driven sound field near the TM had larger and more irregular spatial variations below 10 kHz than with forward sound stimulation, consistent with a significant contribution of nonuniform sound modes. These variations generally did not propagate more than ∼4 mm laterally from the TM. Longitudinal sound field variations with the EC open or blocked were consistent with standing-wave patterns in tubes with open or closed ends. Relative contributions of the nonuniform components to the total sound pressure near the TM were largest at EC natural frequencies where the longitudinal component was small. Transverse variations in EC sound pressure can be reduced by reducing longitudinal EC sound pressure variations, e.g., via reducing reflections from occluding earplugs.

[Available on 2020-03-01]

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