Effect of Probe Tube Insertion Depth on Spectral Measures of Speech

Marc Caldwell, Pamela E. Souza*, Kelly L. Tremblay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study investigated how depth variations in the tip of the probe tube affected spectral measures of speech recorded in the external ear canal. Consonant-vowel nonsense syllables were recorded with a probe tube microphone system in 10 adult participants with normal middle ear function. Recordings were made with the probe tube tip placed 1 mm, 5 mm, and 10 mm beyond the medial tip of a custom earmold. The effect of probe depth was evaluated on spectral levels (one-third octave and one-twelfth octave band). Extending the probe tube 10 mm past the medial tip of the earmold gave the most accurate results, with relatively lower sound levels for either the 1-mm or 5-mm insertion depth. In general, the effect of insertion depth was minimal at frequencies below 3 to 4 kHz, although this varied with the specific phoneme and the width of the analysis bands. The authors found no significant difference between 1- and 5-mm insertion depths, suggesting that as long as the tip of the probe tube is sufficiently close to the tympanic membrane to capture the highest frequency of interest, it makes little difference if it is less than 5 mm beyond the earmold tip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Amplification
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • insertion depth
  • one-third octave band
  • one-twelfth octave band
  • probe tube
  • spectral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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