The Acoustic Reflex in Industrial Impact Noise

  • Roland Nilsson
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 111)


The purpose of the transmission system of the ear (outer and middle ear) is to receive and transmit the sound waves to the inner ear (Fig. 1). From the viewpoint of energy, this is done by means of a number of transformations; from the acoustic energy of the air to a mechanical motion energy on the part of the eardrum and the chain of auditory bones. Then, the hydro-mechanical motion of the inner ear is converted into bioelectrical energy in the hair cells and the auditory nerve. At low and moderate sound levels, the transmission characteristic of the sound transmission system is primarily linear and the amount of energy transmitted to the cochlea is determined by the resonance of the outer ear and the amplification of the middle ear [1]. At higher sound levels, the acoustic middle ear reflex (AR) is activated causing the impedance of the system to increase and the transmission of the sound energy to decrease.


Hearing Loss Hair Cell Noise Exposure Impulse Noise Reflex Threshold 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    J. Tonndorf, Relationship between the transmission characteristics of the conductive system and noise-induced hearing loss, in: “Effects of noise on hearing”, D. Henderson, R.P. Hamernik, D.S. Dosanjh, and J.H. Mills, eds., Raven Press, New York (1976).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Temkin, Die Schadigung des Ohres durch Larm und Erschutterung, Monatsschr. Ohrenheilk Laryngol-Rhinol. 67:257 (1933).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    D. L. Chadwik, The behavior of the pathological ear in noise, Acta Oto Rhino. Laryngol. (Belgica). 25:113 (1971).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. M. Paparella, D. R. Brady, and R. Hoel, Sensorineural hearing loss in chronic otitis media and mastoiditis, Trans. Am. Acad. Ophthalmol. Otolaryngol. 74:108 (1970).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    R. Nilsson and E. Borg, Noise-induced hearing loss in shipyard workers with unilateral conductive hearing loss, Scand. Audiol. 12:135 (1983).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    S. Geldfand, The contralateral acoustic-reflex threshold, in: “The acoustic reflex,” S. Silman, ed., Academic Press, New York and London (1984).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    A. R. Moller, Acoustic reflex in man, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 34:1534 (1962).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    F. B. Simmons, Middle ear muscle protection from the acoustic trauma of loud continuous sound. An electrophysiological study in cats, Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. 69:1063 (1960).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    E. Borg, Acoustic middle ear reflexes: A sensory-control system, Acta Otolaryngol, (Stockh.), Suppl. 304 (1972).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    E. Borg, A quantitative study of the effect of the acoustic stapedius reflex on sound transmission through the middle ear of man, Acta Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), 66:461 (1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    W. M. Rabinowitz, Acoustic-reflex effects on the input admittanc and transfer characteristics of the human middle ear, Thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (1977).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    J.-E. Zakrisson, The effect of the stapedius reflex on attenuation and poststimulatory auditory fatigue at different frequencies, Acta Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), Suppl. 360:118 (1979).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    T. Brask, Extratympanic manometry in man, Scand. Audiol. Suppl. 7:134 (1977).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    D. E. Morgan, and D. D. Dirks, Influence of middle-ear muscle contraction on pure-tone suprathreshold loudness judgements, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 57:411 (1975).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    J. L. Fletcher, and A. J. Riopelle, Protective effect of the acoustic reflex for impulsive noises, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 32:401 (1960).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    D. A. Hilding, The protective value of the stapedius reflex: An experimental study, Trans. Am. Acad. Ophtal. Otolaryngol. 65:297 (1961).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    B. Johansson, B. Kylin, and M. Langfy, Acoustic reflex as a test of individual susceptibility to noise, Acta Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), 64:256 (1967).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    G. Liden, E. Nilsson, O. Laaskinen, B. E. Roos, and J. Miller, The stapedius reflex and motor reaction time: A parallel investigation of the effect of drugs, Scand. Audiol. 3:73 (1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    P. Dallos, “The Auditory Periphery, Biophysics and Physiology,” Academic Press, New York and London (1973).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    T. Kato, Zur Physiologie der Binnenmuskeln des Ohres, Pflugers Arch. 150:569 (1913).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    R. Wersall, The tympanic muscles and their reflexes, Act Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), Suppl. 139:43 (1958).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    H. Anderson, B. Barr, and E. Wedenberg, Intra-aural reflexes in retrocochlear lesions, in: “Disorders of the skull base region,” C.A. Hamberger and J. Wersall, eds., Almqvist & Wiksell, Nobel symposium 10, Stockholm (1969).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    G. Tietze, Zum Zeitverhalten des Akustischen Reflexes bei Reizung mit Dauertonen, Aren. Ohr. Nas. Kehlkopfheilk, 193:43 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    E. Luscher, Die Funktion des Musclulus stapedius beim Menschen, Z Hals. Nas. Ohrheilk. 25:462 (1930).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    O. Metz, Studies on the contraction of the tympanic muscles as indicated by changes in the impedance of the ear, Acta Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), 39:397 (1951).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    E. Borg, and B. Odman, Decay and recovery of the acoustic stapedius reflex in humans, Acta Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), 87:421 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    K. Gjaevenes, and Th. Sohoel, Reactivating the acoustic stapedius muscle reflex by adding a second tone, Acta Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), 62:213 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    R. Nilsson, E. Borg, and G. Liden, Fatigability of the stapedius reflex in industrial noise, Acta Otolaryngol. 89:433 (1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    E. Borg, R. Nilsson, and G. Liden, Fatigability of the stapedius reflex in industrial noise: A field study, Acta Otolaryngol. 94:385 (1982).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    J.-E. Zakrisson, E. Borg, G. Liden, and R. Nilsson, Stapedius reflex in industrial impact noise: Fatigability and role for temporary threshold shift (TTS), Scand. Audiol. Suppl. 12:326 (1980).Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    E. Borg, R. Nilsson, and B. Engstrom, Effect of the acoustic reflex on inner ear damage induced by industrial noise, Acta Otolaryngol. 96:361 (1983).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roland Nilsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Research DepartmentProjekt LindholmenGoteborgSweden

Personalised recommendations