This report explains the use of a complementary series, Golay codes, for probing the impulse response of the external ear. The codes are used to measure both the resonance of the human ear canal, using a sealed sound‐delivery system, and to measure the transfer function of the pinna, using a free‐field source. With two series of 512 binary numbers, the improvement in signal‐to‐noise ratio over a single impulse approaches the theoretical value of 30.1 dB [10 log(2⋅512)]. This technique has many of the same properties as maximal‐length sequences [M. R. Schroeder, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 66, 497–500 (1979)], but it has the added advantage that the sequence length is an integer power of two and is, therefore, particularly convenient to use with modern Fourier transform techniques.

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