In this study, a computer-based method called finite-element analysis is used to predict the forced-frequency response of the ear, with and without an ossicular replacement prosthesis (PORP 0362, Xomed Surgical Products). The method allows visualisation of the dynamical behaviour of the tympanic membrane (TM) and of the ossicles. The finite-element model is fully three-dimensional and includes both ligaments and muscles, and accounts for damping caused by the TM, ligaments, incudostapedial joint and the fluids of the inner ear. For validation, comparison is made with experimental measurements of umbo displacement taken from the literature. The translation and rotation (both anterior-posterior and inferior-superior) of the stapedial footplate are investigated. It is predicted that the translatory motion of the footplate decreases with increasing frequency, except when the frequency of the acoustic signal matches the natural frequencies of the ossicular chain or outer ear canal. The tilting motion of the stapedial footplate is also predicted to depend on frequency of excitation. The presence of a prosthesis changes the dynamical response considerably by shifting the natural frequencies of the ossicular chain. Ratios of stapes motion with and without the prostheses are plotted as a function of frequency allowing this effect to be clearly observed.

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