Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995 Oct;113(4):349-55.

Sound pressure gain produced by the human middle ear.

Author information

Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University, School of Medicine, CA 94305, USA.


The acoustic function of the middle ear is to match sound passing from the low impedance of air to the high impedance of cochlear fluid. Little information is available on the actual middle ear pressure gain in human beings. This article describes experiments on middle ear pressure gain in six fresh human temporal bones. Stapes footplate displacement and phase were measured with a laser Doppler vibrometer before and after removal of the tympanic membrane, malleus, and incus. Acoustic insulation of the round window with clay was performed. Umbo displacement was also measured before tympanic membrane removal to assess baseline tympanic membrane function. The middle ear has its major gain in the lower frequencies, with a peak near 0.9 kHz. The mean gain was 23.0 dB below 1.0 kHz, the resonant frequency of the middle ear; the mean peak gain was 26.6 dB. Above 1.0 kHz, the second pressure gain decreased at a rate of -8.6 dB/octave, with a mean gain of 6.5 dB at 4.0 kHz. Only a small amount of gain was present above 7.0 kHz. Significant individual differences in pressure gain were found between ears that appeared related to variations in tympanic membrane function and not to variations in cochlear impedance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center