Insert ear-probe assembly for high-quality otoacoustic-emission (OAE) measurements in adults

Period of Performance: 09/22/2011 - 03/15/2013

$475K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Mimosa Acoustics
335 N. Fremont St. Array
Champaign, IL 61820
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
600 S Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801
Institution POC

Abstract

OAE has proved to be an important measurement for hearing conservation programs. OAEs are sounds made by healthy inner ears in response to acoustic stimulation and are measured in the ear canal with a miniature microphone. One impediment to OAE testing on a large scale, such as in military hearing conservation programs, is the lack of a high-quality, reliable ear-probes which house the miniature microphone and sound transducers. This proposal demonstrates the feasibility for development of a hearing conservation specific ear probe system. The new probe will perform better than the leading ear probes (ILO and ER10C) in a wide range of acoustic and ergonomic properties important to OAE testing. The trade-offs among various acoustical properties were evaluated in phase I and models of receivers and microphones illustrated key performance limitations. Each transducer, electrical, and acoustical limitation for an all-in-one probe will be systematically improved. Improved transducers, electronics, and probe enclosures will perfectly address the needs of the Naval HCP. Prototypes of various probe designs have been presented during Phase I. The prototypes will be perfected, thereby addressing the Navy hearing conservation program s current problems with existing equipment. Based on our expertise, our previous work and technical plan, clearly demonstrated that a superior probe can be developed which can both measure OAE and administer middle ear power reflectance and pure tone stimuli intelligently, within the scope of STTR phase II funding.