It has been proven, and it is well documented in literature, that the directional response in HRTFs comes largely from the effect of the pinnae. However, few studies have analysed the contribution given by the remaining part of the external ear, particularly the ear canal. This work investigates the directionally dependent response of the modelled ear canal of a dummy head, assuming that the behaviour of the external ear is sufficiently linear to be approximated by an LTI system. In order to extract the ear canal's transfer function, two critical microphone placements (at the eardrum and at the beginning of the cavum conchae) have been used. The system has been evaluated in several positions, along the azimuth plane and at different degrees of elevation. The results point out a non-negligible directional dependence that is well within the normal hearing range; based on these findings, physical models of the ear canal have been analysed and evaluated. We have also considered the practical application to binaural listening, and the colouration originated by the superimposition of the contribution of two ear canals (the listener's and the dummy head's). A compensating FIR filter with arbitrary frequency response is discussed as a possible fix.
Martelloni, A., Mauro, D.A. and Mancuso, A. Further evidences of the contribution of the ear canal to directional hearing: design of a compensation filter. In Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 19, 050175 (2013) Acoustical Society of America.