The effects of mass loading the ossicles with a floating mass transducer on middle ear transfer function
Needham, A. J., Jiang, D., Bibas, A., Jeronimidis, G. and O'Connor, A. F. (2005) The effects of mass loading the ossicles with a floating mass transducer on middle ear transfer function. Otology & Neurotology, 26 (2). pp. 218-224. ISSN 1531-7129
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Hypothesis: The aim of this study was to measure the mass loading effect of an active middle-ear implant (the Vibrant Soundbridge) in cadaver temporal bones. Background: Implantable middle ear hearing devices such as Vibrant Soundbridge have been used as an alternative to conventional hearing aids for the rehabilitation of sensorineural hearing loss. Other than the obvious disadvantage of requiring implantation middle ear surgery, it also applies a direct weight on the ossicular chain which, in turn, may have an impact on residual hearing. Previous studies have shown that applying a mass directly on the ossicular chain has a damping effect on its response to sound. However, little has been done to investigate the magnitude and the frequency characteristics of the mass loading effect in devices such as the Vibrant Soundbridge. Methods: Five fresh cadaver temporal bones were used. The stapes displacement was measured using laser Doppler vibrometry before and after the placement of a Vibrant Sound-bridge floating mass transducer. The effects of mass and attachment site were compared with the unloaded response. Measurements were obtained at frequencies between 0.1 and 10 kHz and at acoustic input levels of 100 dB sound pressure level. Each temporal bone acted as its own control. Results: Placement of the floating mass transducer caused a reduction of the stapes displacement. There were variations between the bones. The change of the stapes displacement varied from 0 dB to 28 dB. The effect was more prominent at frequencies above 1,000 Hz. Placing the floating mass transducer close to the incudostapedial joint reduced the mass loading effect. Conclusion: The floating mass transducer produces a measurable reduction of the stapes displacement in the temporal bone model. The effect is more prominent at high frequencies.