Electroporation with cochlear implant stimulation

21 Feb 2014

In a normal hearing individual, there are some 15,000 hair cells lining the cochlear, stimulated by movement from sound waves; and up to 50,000 spiral ganglion cells (neural cells) that translate this information to the brain. A cochlear implant recipient has a specialised electrode array located within their cochlea. This array uses only 22 electrodes to bypass the failed hair cells and stimulate the remaining spiral ganglion cells in the cochlear - an incredible feat.

This 'electro-neural interface' is one of the bottlenecks surrounding the provision of hearing for those with a cochlear implant. It is not surprising then, to consider there are still many avenues left to be explored to further improve this area. Being a chronically implanted device, any changes to the cochlear implant require a biosafety assessment before they can be implemented in the device and the clinic.

This project works toward improving the safety, efficiency and efficacy of electrical stimulation of the electrode-neural interface, in particular that of the auditory nerve. The team works closely with engineers and scientists at Cochlear Ltd to enable knowledge gained to be applied to the device.