The human middle ear was investigated using a generalised circuit model which can simulate the spatial vibrations of the ossicular chain. The behaviour was observed for acoustic excitation via the normal air conduction path and for mechanic excitation due to shaking the complete temporal bone. More insight into the functionality of the middle ear was obtained by also considering abnormal conditions such as stiffenings. It turned out that the mammalian middle ear is superior to a columella ear due to its particular design. The placement of comparably heavy bones (malleus head and incus body) outside the main transmission path between the manubrium and the stapes footplate in combination with a very flexible ossicular chain creates several favourable properties.

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