Evanescent waves in simulated ear canals: Experimental demonstration and method for compensation

Jonathan H. Siegel, Kren Rahbek Nørgaard, Stephen T. Neely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Evanescent waves emerge from a small sound source that radiates into a waveguide with a larger cross-sectional area, but unlike planar waves, do not propagate far from the source. Evanescent waves thus contaminate in-ear calibration of acoustic stimuli. Measurements with an otoacoustic-emission (OAE) probe inserted at the entrance of long tubes of various diameters show a decline in the evanescent wave with distance from the source when advancing a probe tube through the OAE probe and into the long tube. The amplitude of the evanescent pressure increases with frequency and depends strongly on the diameter of the long tube. Modifying the shape of the aperture of the probe's sound source, thus effectively enlarging its diameter and redirecting acoustic flow, greatly reduced evanescent waves. The reduction in evanescent-wave pressure was observed in calibration cavities used to determine the Thévenin-equivalent source pressure and impedance of the probe. Errors in source calibrations were considerably larger in the unmodified configuration. An alternative method is proposed for calculation of acoustic source parameters that models the evanescent-wave pressure and reduces its influence on the calculation. This reduction greatly improves the quality of source calibrations, which should improve the accuracy of ear-canal impedance measurements and related quantities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2135-2146
Number of pages12
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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