The incudo-malleolar joint and sound transmission losses

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Willi, U B; Ferrazzini, M A; Huber, A M (2002). The incudo-malleolar joint and sound transmission losses. Hearing Research, 174(1-2):32-44.

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The question as to whether the incudo-malleolar joint (IMJ) is mobile or immobile at moderate sound pressure levels (SPLs) is addressed. Referring to the mechanical properties of elastic tissue, we suggest that the IMJ is mobile at any SPL. In order to test this hypothesis, we investigated the dynamics of the IMJ in nine temporal bones by means of laser scanning doppler vibrometry. The dynamic behavior of both ossicles, malleus and incus is described by three degrees of freedom, and transfer functions (TFs) are shown for each motion component [corrected]. We show that there is indeed relative motion between the malleus and the incus. This transmission loss affects the middle ear TF and results in a frequency dependent sound transmission loss. Some characteristics of our results are in agreement with middle ear TFs described in the literature. The increasing transmission loss towards higher frequencies is caused by relative motion between malleus and incus at the IMJ. The concept that the IMJ is functionally mobile is consistent with the physical properties of elastic tissues which most likely define the mechanics of this joint. Since the IMJ is indeed mobile at moderate sound intensities and audible frequencies the theory of the lever ratio being responsible for the characteristics of the middle ear TF must be reconsidered.


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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Deposited On:26 Mar 2009 13:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:43
Publisher DOI:10.1016/S0378-5955(02)00632-9
PubMed ID:12433394

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