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Biomedical Technology

Volume 74 of the series Lecture Notes in Applied and Computational Mechanics pp 145-161

Date:

Development of a Model of the Electrically Stimulated Cochlea

  • Waldo NogueiraAffiliated withDepartment of Otolaryngology, Medical School Hannover, Cluster of Excellence “Hearing4all” Email author 
  • , Waldemar WürfelAffiliated withDepartment of Otolaryngology, Medical School Hannover, Cluster of Excellence “Hearing4all”
  • , Richard T. PenningerAffiliated withDepartment of Otolaryngology, Medical School Hannover, Cluster of Excellence “Hearing4all”
  • , Andreas BüchnerAffiliated withDepartment of Otolaryngology, Medical School Hannover, Cluster of Excellence “Hearing4all”

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Abstract

Cochlear Implants (CIs) are implantable medical devices that can restore the sense of hearing in people with profound sensorineural hearing loss. Clinical trials assessing speech intelligibility in CI users have found large inter subject variability. One possibility to explain the variability are the individual differences in the interface created between electrodes and the auditory nerve. For example, the exact position of the electrodes in each cochlea may differ from one patient to another. Additionally the amount of functional auditory neurons might also vary considerably between CI users. In order to understand the variability, models of the voltage distribution of the electrically stimulated cochlea may be useful. With this purpose we have developed a model that allows to simulate the voltage distribution at different positions on the auditory nerve. Simulations show differences in the extracellular voltage of the spiral ganglions depending on the electrode positions and the cochlear size, which might explain some of the variability. Finally, the model of the electrically stimulated cochlea has been used to simulate the extracellular voltage patterns produced by different instrumental sounds. These patterns have been inserted in an automatic instrument classifier that helps to illustrate the mentioned variability.

Keywords

Cochlear implant Finite element method Electric field Cochlea Sound coding strategy Instrument identification