Simulators of the human ear are reference devices which underpin quantitative hearing assessment by facilitating the calibration of audiometric equipment. They also provide the basis for establishing the reference equivalent hearing threshold levels. Basic ear simulators were first developed in the 1940s and more sophisticated versions in the 1960s. Today we see a distinction between simple volumetric devices known as acoustic couplers and devices that present the transducer under test with an acoustic load typical of a human ear, known as ear simulators. A prerequisite for an ear simulator is that it provides a reproducible means of measuring the output from a transducer that will ultimately be used to assess patients’ hearing. Consequently, specifications for various types of acoustic coupler and ear simulator have been standardised by the International Electrotechnical Commission.
The presentation will review the different types of ear simulator in routine use and discuss their intended purpose and use. Noting that all of these existing devices are intended for use with adult test subjects, we will also review an active European research project that is developing the next generation of ear simulators that will accommodate neonates and children as well as adults.
This European project is not restricted to ear simulator developments, but in a separate theme, is also investigating sounds outside of the conventional audible frequency and their impact of on human hearing. The presentation will briefly outline the research and initial findings on the human response to infrasound and airborne ultrasound, and the importance of such research in the context of occupational and environmental noise exposure.
All welcome, no need to book.
70 Chancery Lane