Model predictions for bone conduction perception in the human

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Abstract

Five different pathways are often suggested as important for bone conducted (BC) sound: (1) sound pressure in the ear canal, (2) inertia of the middle ear ossicles, (3) inertia of the inner ear fluid, (4) compression of the inner ear space, and (5) pressure transmission from the skull interior. The relative importance of these pathways was investigated with an acoustic-impedance model of the inner ear. The model incorporated data of BC generated ear canal sound pressure, middle ear ossicle motion, cochlear promontory vibration, and intracranial sound pressure. With BC stimulation at the mastoid, the inner ear inertia dominated the excitation of the cochlea but inner ear compression and middle ear inertia were within 10 dB for almost the entire frequency range of 0.1–10 kHz. Ear canal sound pressure gave little contribution at the low and high frequencies, but was around 15 dB below the total contribution at the mid frequencies. Intracranial sound pressure gave responses similar to the others at low frequencies, but decreased with frequency to a level of 55 dB below the total contribution at 10 kHz. When the BC inner ear model was evaluated against AC stimulation at threshold levels, the results were close up to approximately 4 kHz but deviated significantly at higher frequencies.

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