Modelling of hearing function in middle and inner ear

Middle ear models based on the finite element method have contributed to better understand the performance and the mechanical behavior of the components of the middle ear. Among the key elements for simulating middle ear physiology are the geometry and the material properties of its components, as well as the selection of appropriate boundary conditions. The middle ear is an extremely complex structure including the tympanic membrane and three ossicles, the malleus, incus and, stapes. The sound, initially funneled into the ear canal, is transferred to the middle ear through the tympanic membrane (TM) and then through the ossicular chain to the inner ear. This process is affected by several parameters such as (i) the shape and volume of the external ear canal, (ii) the shape and stiffness of the TM (iv) the pressure within and the volume of the middle ear cavity. These parameters influence the acoustic–mechanical transmission through the ear, and their alteration may often result in impaired hearing.