Bone conduction sound transmission in humans has been extensively studied using cochlear promontory vibrations. These studies use vibration data collected from measurements in live humans, whole cadavers, and severed cadaver heads, with stimulation applied either at an implant in the skull bone or directly on the skin.
Experimental protocols, methods, and preparation of cadavers or cadaver heads vary among the studies, and it is currently unknown to what extent the aforementioned variables affect the outcome of those studies. The current study has two aims.
The first aim is to review and compare available experimental data and assess the effects of the experimental protocol and methods.
The second aim is to investigate similarities and differences found between the experimental studies based on simulations in a finite element model, the LiUHead.
With implant stimulation, the average cochlear promontory vibration levels were within 10 dB, independent of the experimental setup and preparations of the cadavers or cadaver heads.
With on-skin stimulation, the results were consistent between cadaver heads and living humans. Partial or complete replacement of the brain with air does not affect the cochlear promontory vibration, whereas replacing the brain with liquid reduces the vibration level by up to 5 dB. An intact head–neck connection affects the vibration of the head at frequencies below 300–400 Hz with a significant vibration reduction at frequencies below 200 Hz.
Removing all soft tissue, brain tissue, and intracranial fluid from the head increases the overall cochlear promontory vibration level by around 5 dB.