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

Taylor N. Fields, Lucia Schnetzer, Eileen Brister, Charles Yates, Robert H. Withnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number185401
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - Apr 13 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • bioacoustics
  • biomechanics
  • eardrum
  • model
  • waveguides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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