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A Biomechanical Model of the Inner Ear: Numerical Simulation of the Caloric Test

Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1155/2013/160205
  • Research Article
  • Agricultural Science


Whether two vertical semicircular canals can receive thermal stimuli remains controversial. This study examined the caloric response in the three semicircular canals to the clinical hot caloric test using the finite element method. The results of the developed model showed the horizontal canal (HC) cupula maximally deflected to the utricle side by approximately 3 μm during the hot supine test. The anterior canal cupula began to receive the caloric stimuli about 20 s after the HC cupula, and it maximally deflected to the canal side by 0.55 μm. The posterior canal cupula did not receive caloric stimuli until approximately 40 s after the HC cupula, and it maximally deflected to the canal side by 0.34 μm. Although the endolymph flow and the cupular deformation change with respect to the head position during the test, the supine test ensures the maximal caloric response in the HC, but no substantial improvement for the responses of the two vertical canals was observed. In conclusion, while the usual supine test is the optimum test for evaluating the functions of the inner ear, more irrigation time is needed in order to effectively clinically examine the vertical canals.

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