Pressure Transfer Function and Absorption Cross Section from the Diffuse Field to the Human Infant Ear Canal

Douglas H. Keefe, Jay C. Bulen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The diffuse-field pressure transfer function from a reverberant field to the ear canal of human infants, ages 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months, has been measured from 125–10700 Hz. the source was a loudspeaker using pink noise, and the diffuse-field pressure and the ear-canal pressure were simultaneously measured using a spatial averaging technique in a reverberant room. The results in most subjects show a two-peak structure in the 2-6-kHz range, corresponding to the ear-canal and concha resonances. The ear-canal resonance frequency decreases from 4.4 kHz at age 1 month to 2.9 kHz at age 24 months. The concha resonance frequency decreases from 5.5 kHz at age 1 month to 4.5 kHz at age 24 months. Below 2 kHz, the diffuse-field transfer function shows effects due to the torsos of the infant and parent, and varies with how the infant is held. Comparisons are reported of the diffuse-field absorption cross section for infants relative to adults. This quantity is a measure of power absorbed by the middle ear from a diffuse sound field, and large differences are observed in infants relative to adults. The radiation efficiencies of the infant and the adult ear are small at low frequencies, near unity at midfrequencies, and decrease at higher frequencies. The process of ear-canal development is not yet complete at age 24 months. The results have implications for experiments on hearing in infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-371
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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