An assessment of a conical horn waveguide to represent the human eardrum

Taylor N. Fields, Lucia Schnetzer, Eileen Brister, Charles W Yates, Robert Withnell
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This study examined a model of the acoustic input impedance of the ear that includes a waveguide model of the eardrum. The eardrum was modeled as a lossless conical-horn with rigid walls. The ear canal was modeled as a one-dimensional lossy transmission line. The output impedance of the eardrum, the middle ear, and the cochlea, was modeled as a circuit analog. The model was fit to acoustic input impedance data from human ears using a nonlinear least-squares fit. The impact of a conical-horn shape for the eardrum was quantified by comparison with the eardrum modeled as a near-flat surface. The model provided a good match to the data over the frequency range examined. A conical-horn model of the human eardrum provided gain at high frequencies, most notably above 1–2 kHz, with a broader middle-ear frequency response. This finding may suggest that eardrum shape plays an important role in sound transmission to the cochlea.


Fields, T. N., Schnetzer, L., Brister, E., Yates, C. W., & Withnell, R. H. (2018). An assessment of a conical horn waveguide to represent the human eardrum. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics51(18), 185401.