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June 1968

A New Concept of Bone Conduction

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Otolaryngology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;87(6):595-600. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00760060597008

IT HAS been known for a long time that vibrations in the range of audiofrequencies when transmitted directly to the skull produce the same kind of hearing sensations as airborne sounds. Since at least the early part of the 19th century, this phenomenon, which we call bone conduction, was used diagnostically for the differentiation of conductive hearing losses from sensorineural ones. Although these latter tests became first known empirically, the theory of bone conduction has attracted wide attention ever since. Its explanation, as it turned out, was not easy and presented a number of puzzling aspects. By the middle of the 19th century, two schools of thought, viewed by the majority of writers of that day as incompatible, had emerged. One school thought that energy was transmitted only through the skull bones directly to the inner ear. This was known as the osseous route of transmission. The other one thought

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