The tympanic membrane (TM) and ossicular chain play a central role in hearing by providing acoustic impedance matching between the air-filled ear canal and the fluid-filled inner ear. Vibrometric measurement of the ossicles and TM has been critical for advancing our understanding of the hearing mechanics and improving treatments such as middle-ear prosthetics. It also holds promise for diagnosis of ossicular disorders and planning surgical interventions. Phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a promising tool in hearing research and otology because it can simultaneously image the anatomical structure of the middle ear and measure sound transduction along the TM and ossicular chain with nanometer level sensitivity. Up to now, the demonstrations of OCT-based middle ear vibrometry have been largely focused on vibration magnitude, and vibration phase has been generally overlooked. Here we show OCT vibrography, in which the data acquisition is synchronized with sound excitation and beam scanning, is well suited for volumetric, vibrational imaging of the ossicles and TM. The acquired vibrography data provide intuitive motion pictures of the ossicular chain and how they vary with sound frequency. We investigated the chinchilla ear over 100 Hz to 15 kHz. The vibrography images reveal a previously undescribed mode of motion of the chinchilla ossicles at high frequencies, involving the rotation of the ossicular chain around a secondary axis parallel to the manubrium. We also found evidence of bending and torsion of the manubrium.
Antoine Ramier, Jeffrey Tao Cheng, Michael E. Ravicz, John J. Rosowski, and Seok-Hyun Yun, "Mapping the phase and amplitude of ossicular chain motion using sound-synchronous optical coherence vibrography (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10853, Optical Imaging, Therapeutics, and Advanced Technology in Head and Neck Surgery and Otolaryngology 2019, 1085304 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 02, 2019; Published: 7 March 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2506540.6011366292001.
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