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Biomechanical Modeling and Measurement of Blast Injury and Hearing Protection Mechanisms
Objectives of the project are to determine middle ear protective mechanisms and develop the finite element (FE) model of the human ear for simulating blast injury and assisting design/evaluation of HPDs. There are three aims: quantify middle ear injury in relation to blast overpressure (BOP) level and wave direction using human cadaveric ears; identify middle ear protection mechanisms and hearing damages in animals exposed to blast and the changes of mechanical properties of ear tissues after exposure; develop FE model of human ear to predict BOP transmission through the ear and the prevention mechanisms of acoustic injury for HPDs. Major findings include: 1) blast waveforms recorded at the ear canal entrance, near the tympanic membrane (TM), and inside the middle ear under different wave directions; 2) movements of the TM and stapes during blast exposure measured with dual lasers; 3) EMG measurements of middle ear muscle reflex in response to blast exposure in animals; 4) identified hearing damage and cochlear injury caused by repetitive blast exposure at low BOP or single blast at high BOP level (mild or moderate TBI) in animals; 5) blast-induced TM microstructure and mechanical property changes; 6) 3D FE model of the entire ear for modeling blast wave transmission from the ear canal to cochlea; 7) 3D printed human ear/temporal bone and its application for HPDs evaluation.
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