Acoustic Transmission in Normal Human Hips: Structural Testing of Joint Symmetry

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Biological Engineering


An acoustical technique has been developed for the measurement of structural symmetry of the hip joints. A mild vibratory force was applied to the sacrum and sound signals were picked up at both hips by a pair of microphones installed in two stethoscopes. These stethoscope–microphone assembles were calibrated to achieve a difference in relative sensitivity of less than 0.2 dB. The relative transmission of sound signals was analysed and compared between both hips by a dual-channel signal analyser. Twenty-seven healthy adults, 20 healthy pre-school children and 19 normal neonates were tested. Results from these three groups showed high coherence of the sound signals and that the discrepancy between both hips was smallest in the frequency range of 200–315 Hz. For normal neonates, the sound signals maintained a high coherence (γ2>0.97) and small discrepancy (D<1.25 dB) between both hips. This study has shown that the acoustical technique provides a practical structural testing for bony symmetry of the hips and the results offer a baseline for further investigation into developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) in neonates. Clinical screening for DDH is still problematic in developing countries.