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The impact of tympanic membrane perforations on middle ear transfer function

  • Purpose Injury or inflammation of the middle ear often results in the persistent tympanic membrane (TM) perforations, leading to conductive hearing loss (HL). However, in some cases the magnitude of HL exceeds that attributable by the TM perforation alone. The aim of the study is to better understand the effects of location and size of TM perforations on the sound transmission properties of the middle ear. Methods The middle ear transfer functions (METF) of six human temporal bones (TB) were compared before and after perforating the TM at different locations (anterior or posterior lower quadrant) and to different degrees (1 mm, ¼ of the TM, ½ of the TM, and full ablation). The sound-induced velocity of the stapes footplate was measured using single-point laser-Doppler-vibrometry (LDV). The METF were correlated with a Finite Element (FE) model of the middle ear, in which similar alterations were simulated. Results The measured and calculated METF showed frequency and perforation size dependent losses at all perforation locations. Starting at low frequencies, the loss expanded to higher frequencies with increased perforation size. In direct comparison, posterior TM perforations affected the transmission properties to a larger degree than anterior perforations. The asymmetry of the TM causes the malleus-incus complex to rotate and results in larger deflections in the posterior TM quadrants than in the anterior TM quadrants. Simulations in the FE model with a sealed cavity show that small perforations lead to a decrease in TM rigidity and thus to an increase in oscillation amplitude of the TM mainly above 1 kHz. Conclusion Size and location of TM perforations have a characteristic influence on the METF. The correlation of the experimental LDV measurements with an FE model contributes to a better understanding of the pathologic mechanisms of middle-ear diseases. If small perforations with significant HL are observed in daily clinical practice, additional middle ear pathologies should be considered. Further investigations on the loss of TM pretension due to perforations may be informative.

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Author of HS ReutlingenLauxmann, Michael; Sackmann, Benjamin
Erschienen in:European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology and head & neck : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS)
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Journal article
Publication year:2021
Tag:FEM; finite element method; laser-doppler vibrometry; middle ear mechanics; middle ear transfer function; tympanic membrane; tympanic membrane perforations; tympanoplasty
Page Number:8
PPN:Im Katalog der Hochschule Reutlingen ansehen
DDC classes:610 Medizin, Gesundheit
Open access?:Ja
Licence (German):License Logo  Creative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International