Impact of Ear Occlusion on In-Ear Sounds Generated by Intra-oral Behaviors

Mohammad Khair Nahhas*, Nicolas Gerig, Jens Christoph Türp, Philippe Cattin, Elisabeth Wilhelm, Georg Rauter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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We conducted a case study with one volunteer and a recording setup to detect sounds induced by the actions: jaw clenching, tooth grinding, reading, eating, and drinking. The setup consisted of two in-ear microphones, where the left ear was semi-occluded with a commercially available earpiece and the right ear was occluded with a mouldable silicon ear piece. Investigations in the time and frequency domains demonstrated that for behaviors such as eating, tooth grinding, and reading, sounds could be recorded with both sensors. For jaw clenching, however, occluding the ear with a mouldable piece was necessary to enable its detection. This can be attributed to the fact that the mouldable ear piece sealed the ear canal and isolated it from the environment, resulting in a detectable change in pressure. In conclusion, our work suggests that detecting behaviors such as eating, grinding, reading with a semi-occluded ear is possible, whereas, behaviors such as clenching require the complete occlusion of the ear if the activity should be easily detectable. Nevertheless, the latter approach may limit real-world applicability because it hinders the hearing capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Trends in Medical and Service Robotics, MESROB 2021
EditorsGeorg Rauter, Giuseppe Carbone, Philippe C. Cattin, Azhar Zam, Doina Pisla, Robert Riener, Robert Riener
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9783030761462
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event7th International Workshop on New Trends in Medical and Service Robotics, MESROB 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 7-Jun-20219-Jun-2021

Publication series

NameMechanisms and Machine Science
Volume106 MMS
ISSN (Print)2211-0984
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0992


Conference7th International Workshop on New Trends in Medical and Service Robotics, MESROB 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Acoustic signals
  • Ear occlusion
  • Hearables
  • Physiological bio-markers


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