Acoustic Boundary Layer Attenuation in Ducts with Rigid and Elastic Walls applied to Cochlear Mechanics

[+] Author and Article Information
Frank Böhnke

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Technical University Munich Ismaningerstr. 22, 81664 München, Germany

Sebastian Semmelbauer

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 München, Germany

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036674 History: Received October 05, 2016; Revised April 21, 2017


The cochlea is the most important part of the hearing system, due to the fact that it transforms sound guided through air, bone and lymphatic fluid to vibrations of the cochlear partition which includes the organ of Corti with its sensory cells. These send nerve impulses to the brain leading to hearing perception. The work presents the wave propagation in rigid ducts filled with air or water including viscous-thermal boundary layer damping. In extension a mechanical box model of the human cochlea represented by a rectangular duct limited by the tapered basilar membrane at one side is developed and evaluated numerically by the finite element method. For the tapered bm an orthotropic solid with constant Young's moduli and boundary layer damping is sufficient to simulate characteristic traveling waves for frequencies in the audible range. The results match with rare experiments on human temporal bones without using the physically unfounded assumption of Rayleigh damping. A forecast on the concept of the traveling wave parametric amplification is given to potentially explain the high hearing sensitivity and otoacoustic emissions.

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