An intracochlear pressure sensor as a microphone for a fully implantable cochlear implant

Francis X. Creighton, Xiying Guan, Steve Park, Ioannis Kymissis, Hideko Heidi Nakajima, Elizabeth S. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To validate an intracochlear piezoelectric sensor for its ability to detect intracochlear pressure and function as a microphone for a fully implantable cochlear implant. Methods: A polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) piezoelectric pressure sensor was inserted into a human fresh cadaveric round window at varying depths. An external sound pressure stimulus was applied to the external auditory canal (EAC). EAC pressure, stapes velocity, and piezoelectric sensor voltage output were recorded. Results: The PVDF sensor was able to detect the intracochlear sound pressure response to an acoustic input to the EAC. The frequency response of the pressure measured with the intracochlear sensor was similar to that of the pressure at the EAC, with the expected phase delay of the middle ear transmission. The magnitude of the response increased and smoothened with respect to frequency as the sensor was inserted more deeply into the scala tympani. Artifact measurements, made with the sensor in air near the round window, showed flat frequency response in both magnitude and phase, which were distinct from those measured when the sensor was inserted in the round window. Conclusion: This study describes a novel method of measuring intracochlear pressure for an otologic microphone composed of a piezoelectric polymer, and demonstrates feasibility. Our next goal is to improve device sensitivity and bandwidth. Our long-term objective is to imbed the piezoelectric sensor within a conventional cochlear implant electrode, to enable a device to both measure intracochlear sound pressure and deliver electrical stimulus to the cochlea, for a fully implantable cochlear implant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1596-1600
Number of pages5
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 28 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlear implants
  • Hearing prosthesis
  • Implantable microphones
  • Intracochlear pressure measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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