Magnetically driven middle ear ossicles for optical measurement of vibrations in an ear with opened tympanic membrane
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
New York, N.Y.
The review of scientific instruments. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 1-5
University of Antwerp
Vibrations of the middle ear ossicles are easily measured by means of laser vibrometry. However, laser vibrometry requires free visual access to the object under investigation, and acquiring free visual access to the ossicles through the ear canal requires the removal of the tympanic membrane (TM), with the result that the ossicles can no longer be stimulated acoustically. To overcome this, we devised a new setup in which the ossicles can be driven magnetically. After measuring the response of the TM to an acoustic signal, we then remove it and attach a small magnet to the exposed manubrium (a part of the most lateral auditory ossicle, the malleus, which is normally attached to the TM). An electromagnetic excitation coil is then used to drive the magnet, and the output to the coil adjusted until the vibration of the manubrium, as measured by the vibrometer, matches that measured in response to the acoustic signal. Such a setup may have uses in research on middle ear mechanics, such as the measurement of nonlinearities in their response, as well as applications in the diagnosis of middle ear conditions such as the fixation of the ossicles by otosclerosis or in chronic otitis media. We describe our setup and discuss the viability of our method and its future clinical potential by presenting some measurements on an artificially fixated ear. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.