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Volume 125, Issue 6, June 2009
- ACOUSTICAL MEASUREMENTS AND INSTRUMENTATION 
Accuracy of acoustic ear canal impedances: Finite element simulation of measurement methods using a coupling tube125(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3125344View Description Hide Description
Acoustic impedances measured at the entrance of the ear canal provide information on both the ear canal geometry and the terminating impedance at the eardrum, in principle. However, practical experience reveals that measured results in the audio frequency range up to 20 kHz are frequently not very accurate. Measurement methods successfully tested in artificial tubes with varying area functions often fail when applied to real ear canals. The origin of these errors is investigated in this paper. To avoid mixing of systematical and other errors, no real measurements are performed. Instead finite element simulations focusing on the coupling between a connecting tube and the ear canal are regarded without simulating a particular measuring method in detail. It turns out that realistic coupling between the connecting tube and the ear canal causes characteristic shifts of the frequencies of measuredpressure minima and maxima. The errors in minima mainly depend on the extent of the area discontinuity arising at the interface; the errors in maxima are determined by the alignment of the tube with respect to the ear canal. In summary, impedance measurements using coupling tubes appear questionable beyond 3 kHz.