Model-oriented review and multi-body simulation of the ossicular chain of the human middle ear.
The ossicular chain of the human middle ear has a key role in sound conduction since it transfers vibrations from the tympanic membrane to the cochlea, connecting the outer and the inner part of the hearing organ. This study reports firstly a description of the main anatomical features of the middle ear to introduce a detailed survey of its biomechanics, focused on model development, with a collection of geometric, inertial and mechanical/material parameters. The joint issues are particularly discussed from the perspective of developing a model of the middle ear both explanatory and predictive. Such a survey underlines the remarkable dispersion of data, due also to the lack of a standardization of the experimental techniques and conditions. Subsequently, a 3D multi-body model of the ossicular chain and other structures of the middle ear is described. Such an approach is justified as the ossicles were proven to behave as rigid bodies in the human hearing range and was preferred to the more widely used finite element one as it simplifies the model development and improves joint modeling. The displacement of the umbo (a reference point of the tympanic membrane) in the 0.3-6kHz frequency range was defined as input of the model, while the stapes footplate displacement as output. A parameter identification procedure was used to find parameter values for reproducing experimental and numerical reference curves taken from the literature. This simple model might represent a valid alternative to more complex models and might provide a useful tool to simulate pathological/post-surgical/post-traumatic conditions and evaluate ossicular replacement prostheses.
Department of Mechanical, Nuclear and Production Engineering, University of Pisa, Largo Lucio Lazzarino 1, I - 56122 Pisa, Italy. email@example.com
SourceMedical engineering & physics 34:9 2012 Nov pg 1339-55
Finite Element Analysis
Pub Type(s)Journal Article