I have a question referring to the external auditory canal. Is the convex bending of the auditory canal usually strong enough, that any object (like a water jet or something) can not directly hit the eardrum?

1 Answer 1


No, at least not reliably. Each person is different and some tympanic membranes are situated in a pretty direct angle. Even in canals with a steep angle, a strong enough jet just ricocheting off the wall can still generate enough force to be harmful. Don't use any water jet type of thing that was not designed for ears. Some of the dangers are discussed in this article on cerumen removal: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1413546-overview

  • But if this happens for example in the shower accidently with a strong water jet for a very short time, how loud would it be for the ear (decibels) approximately and could the acoustic reflex protect the ear enough? I don't mean physical damage to the ear drum (which could possible appear because of the pressure), I'm just referring to inner damage (stereocilia damage).
    – J. Scott
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 10:37
  • That's an interesting but different question prompting calculations of underwater acoustic physics. I speculate that the angle of the canal would have less of a dampening effect on the force of sound than on the flow of water in a jet..
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 12:48
  • Ok thank you. But how can I calculate a sound pressure, when the sound is generated directly on the tympanic membrane? I know a sound pressure formula where you can calculate the sound pressure for a certain distance. But here, the distance should be zero. I don't know how to calculate that. Do you have any suggestions or estimations about that?
    – J. Scott
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 14:29

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