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Biomechanical Modeling and Measurement of Blast Injury and Hearing Protection Mechanisms


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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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