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Hear Res. 2010 Sep 1;268(1-2):93-104. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2010.05.005. Epub 2010 May 24.

Modeling the electrode-neuron interface of cochlear implants: effects of neural survival, electrode placement, and the partial tripolar configuration.

Author information

1
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. jgoldwyn@uw.edu

Abstract

The partial tripolar electrode configuration is a relatively novel stimulation strategy that can generate more spatially focused electric fields than the commonly used monopolar configuration. Focused stimulation strategies should improve spectral resolution in cochlear implant users, but may also be more sensitive to local irregularities in the electrode-neuron interface. In this study, we develop a practical computer model of cochlear implant stimulation that can simulate neural activation in a simplified cochlear geometry and we relate the resulting patterns of neural activity to basic psychophysical measures. We examine how two types of local irregularities in the electrode-neuron interface, variations in spiral ganglion nerve density and electrode position within the scala tympani, affect the simulated neural activation patterns and how these patterns change with electrode configuration. The model shows that higher partial tripolar fractions activate more spatially restricted populations of neurons at all current levels and require higher current levels to excite a given number of neurons. We find that threshold levels are more sensitive at high partial tripolar fractions to both types of irregularities, but these effects are not independent. In particular, at close electrode-neuron distances, activation is typically more spatially localized which leads to a greater influence of neural dead regions.

PMID:
20580801
PMCID:
PMC2923246
DOI:
10.1016/j.heares.2010.05.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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