Non-invasive estimation of middle-ear input impedance and efficiency

James D. Lewis, Stephen T. Neely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


A method to transform the impedance measured in the ear canal, ZEC, to the plane of the eardrum, ZED, is described. The portion of the canal between the probe and eardrum was modeled as a concatenated series of conical segments, allowing for spatial variations in its cross-sectional area. A model of the middle ear (ME) and cochlea terminated the ear-canal model, which permitted estimation of ME efficiency. Acoustic measurements of ZEC were made at two probe locations in 15 normal-hearing subjects. ZEC was sensitive to measurement location, especially near frequencies of canal resonances and anti-resonances. Transforming ZEC to ZED reduced the influence of the canal, decreasing insertion-depth sensitivity of ZED between 1 and 12 kHz compared to ZEC. Absorbance, A, was less sensitive to probe placement than ZEC, but more sensitive than ZED above 5 kHz. ZED and A were similarly insensitive to probe placement between 1 and 5 kHz. The probe-placement sensitivity of ZED below 1 kHz was not reduced from that of either A or ZEC. ME efficiency had a bandpass shape with greatest efficiency between 1 and 4 kHz. Estimates of ZED and ME efficiency could extend the diagnostic capability of wideband-acoustic immittance measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-993
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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