An in situ calibration for hearing thresholds

Robert H. Withnell, Patricia S. Jeng, Kelly Waldvogel, Kari Morgenstein, Jont B. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Quantifying how the sound delivered to the ear canal relates to hearing threshold has historically relied on acoustic calibration in physical assemblies with an input impedance intended to match the human ear (e.g., a Zwislocki coupler). The variation in the input impedance of the human ear makes such a method of calibration questionable. It is preferable to calibrate the acoustic signal in each ear individually. By using a calibrated sound source and microphone, the acoustic input impedance of the ear can be determined, and the sound delivered to the ear calibrated in terms of either (i) the incident sound pressure wave or (ii) that portion of the incident sound pressure wave transmitted to the middle ear and cochlea. Hearing thresholds expressed in terms of these quantities are reported, these in situ calibrations not being confounded by ear canal standing waves. Either would serve as a suitable replacement for the current practice of hearing thresholds expressed in terms of sound pressure level calibrated in a 6cc or 2cc coupler.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1605-1611
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 19 2009
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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