In vivo dynamic characterization of the human tympanic membrane using pneumatic optical coherence tomography

Jungeun Won, Ryan G. Porter, Michael A. Novak, Jon Youakim, Ada Sum, Ronit Barkalifa, Edita Aksamitiene, Anqi Zhang, Ryan Nolan, Ryan Shelton, Stephen A. Boppart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Decreased mobility of the human eardrum, the tympanic membrane (TM), is an essential indicator of a prevalent middle ear infection. The current diagnostic method to assess TM mobility is via pneumatic otoscopy, which provides subjective and qualitative information of subtle motion. In this study, a handheld spectral-domain pneumatic optical coherence tomography system was developed to simultaneously measure the displacement of the TM, air pressure inputs applied to a sealed ear canal, and to perform digital pneumatic otoscopy. A novel approach based on quantitative parameters is presented to characterize spatial and temporal variations of the dynamic TM motion. Furthermore, the TM motions of normal middle ears are compared with those of ears with middle ear infections. The capability of noninvasively measuring the rapid motion of the TM is beneficial to understand the complex dynamics of the human TM, and can ultimately lead to improved diagnosis and management of middle ear infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202000215
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • biomechanics
  • optical coherence tomography
  • otitis media
  • tympanic membrane
  • viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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