Finite element modeling of energy absorbance in normal and disordered human ears.

Research paper by Xiangming X Zhang, Rong Z RZ Gan

Indexed on: 01 Jan '13Published on: 01 Jan '13Published in: Hearing Research


The finite element (FE) model of the human ear has been developed to analyze the middle ear and cochlea function in relation to the ear structures. However, the energy absorbance or energy reflectance used in the research and clinical audiology test has not been reported in the FE model. The relationship between the middle ear structure and the energy absorbance (EA) needs to be identified using the FE model. In this study, a FE model of the human ear, including the ear canal, the middle ear and the spiral cochlea constructed from the histological sections of a human temporal bone, was used to calculate EA. The viscoelastic material properties were applied to the middle ear soft tissues. Three middle ear disorders were simulated in the FE model: otitis media, otosclerosis, and ossicular chain disarticulation. Multi-physics (acoustic, structure, and fluid) coupled analysis was conducted in the model. The FE model was first validated with the published experimental data on the middle ear input impedance and EA of the normal ear. The EA in three disordered ears was obtained from the model and compared with the published results measured in the clinics and the temporal bone experiments. The consistence of the model-derived EA with the published data demonstrates that the FE model is feasible to analyze EA. The effects of middle ear pressure, middle ear effusion, and mechanical properties of soft tissues on EA were estimated and discussed. This article is part of a special issue entitled "MEMRO 2012".