Direct bone conduction stimulation: Ipsilateral effect of different transducer attachments in active transcutaneous devices

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Abstract

Active transcutaneous bone conduction devices, where the transducer is implanted, are used for rehabilitation of hearing impaired patients by directly stimulating the skull bone. The transducer and the way it is attached to the bone play a central role in the design of such devices. The actual effect of varying the contact to bone has not been addressed yet. The aim of this study is therefore to compare how different attachment methods of the transducer to the bone for direct stimulation affect the ear canal sound pressure and vibration transmission to the ipsilateral cochlea. Three different attachments to the bone were tested: (A) via a flat small-sized surface, (B) via a flat wide surface and (C) via two separated screws. Measurements were done on four human heads on both sides. The attachments were compared in terms of induced cochlear promontory velocity, measured by a laser Doppler vibrometer, and ear canal sound pressure, measured by a low noise microphone. A swept sine stimulus was used in the frequency range 0.1–10 kHz. On an average level, the attachment method seems to affect the transmission mainly at frequencies above 5 kHz. Furthermore, the results suggest that a smaller contact surface might perform better in terms of transmission of vibrations at mid and high frequencies. However, when considering the whole frequency range, average results from the different attachment techniques are comparable.

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Rigato, C., Reinfeldt, S., Håkansson, B., Fredén Jansson, K. J., Renvall, E., & Eeg-Olofsson, M. (2018). Direct bone conduction stimulation: Ipsilateral effect of different transducer attachments in active transcutaneous devices. Hearing Research, 361, 103–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heares.2018.01.007

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