The linear and nonlinear biomechanics of the middle ear

by Wright, Thomas

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis addresses the biomechanics of the human middle ear, that part of the auditory system which converts sound pressure waves in air to fluid pressure waves in the cochlea. The middle ear's mechanism is analysed in four papers, three main and one supporting; in the main papers the middle ear is treated as a multi-particle, multi-rigid body ensemble possessing a variable number of degrees of freedom depending upon the case being investigated.It is confirmed, using the standard representation of a single fused incudo-malleal block, that the middle ear's motion is linear, but when this fused block restriction is lifted nonlinearity is present which significantly affects the mechanism's behaviour. In view of the linearity of the chain under the fused block conditions, the explanatory veracity of the conventionally accepted `fixed axis hypothesis' of ossicular motion is examined and found to be wanting as a realistic description of the chain's physical movement.The nonlinear behaviour of the ossicular chain centres around the action of the incudo-malleal joint. This joint is shown to have preferential planes of operation, principally the pitch or longitudinal plane and in general to act as an efficient energy dissipator at high driving pressures and low frequencies. Providing the pressure is high enough, it is shown this energy dissipator effect eventually becomes independent of frequency.The supporting paper discusses the dynamics of the imposition and removal of equation constraints justifying methods used to investigate the functioning of the incudo-malleal joint.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:TECHNOLOGY; Bioengineering; Biotechnology; biomechanics; middle ear models; ossicular chain; Bioteknik


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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