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Concept and evaluation of an endaurally insertable middle-ear implant

: Goll, Erich; Dalhoff, Ernst; Gummer, Anthony W.; Heyd, Andreas; Wildenstein, Daniela; Arnold, Heinz; Schraven, Sebastian P.; Kaltenbacher, Dominik; Schächtele, Jonathan; Schäfer, Armin; Burkhardt, Claus; Tavakoli, Kia; Brenk, Uwe; Pojtinger, Andreas; Remer, Uwe; Wesendahl, Theo; Winter, Mark; Zenner, Hans-Peter


Medical engineering & physics 35 (2013), No.4, pp.532-536
ISSN: 1350-4533
ISSN: 1873-4030
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPA ()
aktives Implantat; implantable hearing aid; implantierbares Hörgerät; Hören; Implantat; Medizintechnik

A concept for a partially implantable hearing device, for which the power supply and signal transmission are provided by an optical transmission path, is evaluated. The actuator is designed to fit into the round-window niche and to couple directly to the round-window membrane. Implantable hearing aids can be a suitable solution in the case of severe hearing loss, where conventional hearing aids often fail. However, the surgical effort for an implantation is comparatively high. Therefore, the objective of our work was to provide a hearing system which combines reliable coupling to the auditory system with an easy implantation technique. The actuator was designed as a piezoelectric thin-film cantilever. The optical transmission path was realised using an infrared light-emitting diode combined with an active receiver circuit. For a voltage of 1 V, the unloaded actuator presents displacement amplitudes of 1 µm up to a stimulus frequency of 25 kHz and forces up to 0.2 mN. Proportionally larger forces can be achieved by stacking single actuators. The overall transmission loss from the electrical input of the light-emitting diode driver to the mechanical output of the unloaded actuator was less than 25 dB at 1 kHz and maximum output.