Controlled exploration of the effects of conductive hearing loss on wideband acoustic immittance in human cadaveric preparations

Gabrielle R. Merchant, Saumil N. Merchant, John J. Rosowski, Hideko Heidi Nakajima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Current clinical practice cannot distinguish, with any degree of certainty, the multiple pathologies that produce conductive hearing loss in patients with an intact tympanic membrane and a well-aerated middle ear without exploratory surgery. The lack of an effective non-surgical diagnostic procedure leads to unnecessary surgery and limits the accuracy of information available during pre-surgical consultations with the patient. A non-invasive measurement to determine the pathology responsible for a conductive hearing loss prior to surgery would be of great value. This work investigates the utility of wideband acoustic immittance (WAI), a non-invasive measure of middle-ear mobility, in the differential diagnosis of pathologies responsible for conductive hearing loss. We focus on determining whether power reflectance (PR), a derivative of WAI, is a possible solution to this problem. PR is a measure of the fraction of sound power reflected from the middle ear when a sound stimulus is presented to the ear canal. PR and other metrics of middle-ear performance (such as ossicular motion via laser Doppler vibrometry) were measured in well-controlled human temporal bone preparations with simulated pathologies. We report measurements before and after simulation of stapes fixation (n = 8), malleus fixation (n = 10), ossicular disarticulation (n = 10), and superior canal dehiscence (n = 8). Our results are consistent with the small set of previously published reflectance measurements made in temporal bones and patients. In this present study, these temporal bone experiments with different middle- and inner-ear pathologies were compared to the initial normal state by analyzing both WAI and ossicular motion, demonstrating that WAI can be a valuable tool in the diagnosis of conductive hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalHearing Research
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Middle-ear
  • Ossicular disarticulation
  • Reflectance
  • Stapes fixation
  • Superior canal dehiscence
  • Wideband acoustic immittance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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