An approach to mechanics of the cochlea

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Summary

A central problem in cochlear mechanics is an assessment of the mechanical basis of the ability of the ear to distinguish tones of different frequency. The starting point here is a fairly complete description of the cochlea as a hydroelastic system. The equations of an incompressible inviscid fluid, coupled to those of an elastic plate lead to a linear eigenvalue problem. Since the cochlea has a slender geometry, asymptotic methods can be used to generate a sequence of simplified problems. In the first approximation an interaction problem must be solved in a cross-plane.

Integral properties of the second order problem connect the cross-plane solutions. Mode shapes and eigenvalues can then be calculated. It is found that the spectrum is relatively dense, which has importance in terms of the frequency sensitivity of the ear.

Zusammenfassung

Ein zentrales Problem der Mechanik des Ohrs ist die Erklärung der mechanischen Vorgänge mit denen das Ohr Töne verschiedener Frequenz unterscheiden kann. Der Ausgangspunkt der vorliegenden Arbeit ist eine ziemlich umfassende Beschreibung der Schnecke als ein hydro-elastisches System. Werden die

Dedicated to Dr. N. Rott on his 60th Birthday
Research carried out with support of National Science Foundation Grant ENG 76-81574.