The performance of the ear as a receiver of acoustic energy is most commonly expressed by determination of the threshold. Without question, the electrical sound producer represents a great improvement over older devices for hearing tests. However, it becomes increasingly evident that the threshold of hearing alone does not completely represent the state of auditory function. For a number of years, especially since the work of Fowler, more attention has been paid to the function of the ear with regard to overthreshold stimuli.
It has been suggested that an acoustic receiver capable of conducting such a multitude and variety of intensities is most likely not uniform in its mechanism. This assumption was made both as to frequency and as to intensity. There is experimental evidence that the mode of vibration for very high intensities close to the threshold of feeling is different from the mode of vibration of intensities near
KOBRAK HG. EXPERIMENTS ON CONDUCTION OF SOUND THROUGH THE CAVITY OF THE MIDDLE EAR. Arch Otolaryngol. 1943;37(6):796–801. doi:10.1001/archotol.1943.00670030811005
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