Comparison of nine methods to estimate ear-canal stimulus levels

Natalie N. Souza, Sumitrajit Dhar, Stephen T. Neely, Jonathan H. Siegel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The reliability of nine measures of the stimulus level in the human ear canal was compared by measuring the sensitivity of behavioral hearing thresholds to changes in the depth of insertion of an otoacoustic emission probe. Four measures were the ear-canal pressure, the eardrum pressure estimated from it and the pressure measured in an ear simulator with and without compensation for insertion depth. The remaining five quantities were derived from the ear-canal pressure and the Thévenin-equivalent source characteristics of the probe: Forward pressure, initial forward pressure, the pressure transmitted into the middle ear, eardrum sound pressure estimated by summing the magnitudes of the forward and reverse pressure (integrated pressure) and absorbed power. Two sets of behavioral thresholds were measured in 26 subjects from 0.125 to 20 kHz, with the probe inserted at relatively deep and shallow positions in the ear canal. The greatest dependence on insertion depth was for transmitted pressure and absorbed power. The measures with the least dependence on insertion depth throughout the frequency range (best performance) included the depth-compensated simulator, eardrum, forward, and integrated pressures. Among these, forward pressure is advantageous because it quantifies stimulus phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1768-1787
Number of pages20
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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