Experimental study of an implantable fiber-optic microphone on human cadavers

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Abstract

In this paper, we present the results of an experimental study about a novel fiber optical vibrometer, aimed to be used as a totally implantable fiber-optic microphone for hearing aids. The sensor head, implanted inside the human cadaver middle ear, detects the amplitude of the incus vibrations, which are produced by an external acoustical source. The probe beam of coherent vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) radiation is directed to the incus and the phase-modulated reflected beam is captured and demodulated. The problem of interferometric fading was solved using two quasi-quadrature signals, passively produced by the 3 × 3 single-mode fiber-optic coupler, processed by a special embedded algorithm. The implanted optoelectronic module works with very low-power consumption, performs real-time signal processing and outputs an analogue signal proportional to the incus vibration. The amplitude of the incus vibrations at different sound pressure levels (SPL) from 40 to 90 dB and at frequencies from 100 Hz to 10 kHz were measured by the implanted system. The system was evaluated on five cadaver skulls. The measured amplitudes were in the range of 1 pm to 5 nm, depending on the subjected skull and the applied sound pressure.

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Djinović, Z., Pavelka, R., Tomić, M., Sprinzl, G., Müller, J. G., & Traxler, H. (2021). Experimental study of an implantable fiber-optic microphone on human cadavers. Hearing Research, 410. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heares.2021.108351

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