Longitudinal changes in dynamic characteristics of neonatal external and middle ears

Nattikan Kanka, Michio Murakoshi, Shinji Hamanishi, Risako Kakuta, Sachiko Matsutani, Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Hiroshi Wada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Neonates have smaller and less mature ears than adults. Developmental changes in structure and function continually occur after birth and may affect the diagnostic results obtained by audiometric assessment instrumentation, such as tympanometry and otoacoustic emission. In the present study, we investigated longitudinal changes in external and middle ear dynamic characteristics by performing sweep frequency impedance (SFI) tests. Methods: SFI tests were longitudinally performed on healthy Japanese neonates (1 female and 1 male) from birth to 3 and 5 months, respectively. A sound of sweeping sinusoidal frequency, ranging from 0.1 kHz to 2 kHz, was presented to the ear canal at 50-daPa intervals of static pressure from +200 to −200 daPa. Test results were expressed a curve showing the sound pressure level (SPL) relative to probe tone frequency, called SPL curve. Results: The first fluctuation in resonance frequency (RF1) and SPL (ΔSPL1), related to the external ear, showed significant developmental changes as chronological age increased; that is, RF1 and ΔSPL1 were respectively increased and decreased and thereafter became unmeasurable by 5 months of age. In contrast, the second fluctuation in resonance frequency (RF2) and SPL (ΔSPL2), related to the middle ear, did not show significant changes over the measurement period. Conclusions: The present results suggest that the dynamic characteristics of the external ear canal wall changed with increases in chronological age; the resonance of the wall at about 0.3 kHz at birth tended to increase to about 0.7 kHz and to be unmeasurable by 5 months of age, while those of the middle ear did not significantly changed. These results showing how neonatal-ear dynamics changes with chronological age may be an important key in further hearing research and the development of hearing devices and diagnostic tools suitable for neonates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110061
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul


  • Dynamic characteristics
  • Longitudinal change
  • Neonatal ear


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