Investigation of ultra-low insertion speeds in an inelastic artificial cochlear model using custom-made cochlear implant electrodes



Latest research on cochlear implantations focuses on hearing preservation during insertion of the implant’s electrode array by reducing insertion trauma. One parameter which may influence trauma is insertion speed. The objective of this study was to extend the range of examined insertion speeds to include ultra-low velocities, being lower than manually feasible, and investigate whether these reduce insertion forces.


24 custom-made cochlear implant test samples were fabricated and inserted into an artificial scala tympani model using 12 different insertion speeds while measuring the resulting insertion forces. Three commercially available slim straight electrode carriers were inserted using the same setup to analyze whether the results are comparable.


Insertions of the test samples using high insertion speeds (2.0/2.8 mm/s) showed significantly higher insertion forces than insertions done with low insertion speeds (0.2 mm/s) or ultra-low insertion speeds (< 0.1 mm/s). The insertions with commercial slim straight electrode arrays showed significantly reduced insertion forces when using a low insertion speed as well.


Slow insertions showed significantly reduced insertion forces. Insertion speeds which are lower than manually feasible showed even lower insertion forces.

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The authors would like to thank the German Research Foundation (DFG) for funding this research (support code: MA 4038/9-1). Furthermore, the authors thank Samuel Müller (Institute of Mechatronic Systems, Leibniz University Hannover) for fabrication of the casting mold.

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Correspondence to Silke Hügl.

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Conflict of interest

Thomas Lenarz is a consultant for Cochlear Ltd. Silke Hügl, Katharina Rülander, Omid Majdani and Thomas S. Rau declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Hügl, S., Rülander, K., Lenarz, T. et al. Investigation of ultra-low insertion speeds in an inelastic artificial cochlear model using custom-made cochlear implant electrodes. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 275, 2947–2956 (2018).

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  • Electrode carrier
  • Automated insertion
  • Insertion tool
  • Insertion force
  • Cochlea implantation