Interactions between Auditory and Vestibular Modalities during Stimulation with a Combined Vestibular and Cochlear Prosthesis.

Research paper by James O JO Phillips, Leo L Ling, Amy A Nowack, Brenda B Rebollar, Jay T JT Rubinstein

Indexed on: 24 Jan '20Published on: 23 Jan '20Published in: Audiology & neuro-otology


A combined vestibular and cochlear prosthesis may restore hearing and balance to patients who have lost both. To do so, the device should activate each sensory system independently. In this study, we quantify auditory and vestibular interactions during interleaved stimulation with a combined 16-channel cochlear and 6-channel vestibular prosthesis in human subjects with both hearing and vestibular loss. Three human subjects were implanted with a combined vestibular and cochlear implant. All subjects had severe-to-profound deafness in the implanted ear. We provided combined stimulation of the cochlear and vestibular arrays and looked for interactions between these separate inputs. Our main outcome measures were electrically evoked slow-phase eye velocities during nystagmus elicited by brief trains of biphasic pulse stimulation of the vestibular end organs with and without concurrent stimulation of the cochlea, and Likert scale assessments of perceived loudness and pitch during stimulation of the cochlea, with and without concurrent stimulation of the vestibular ampullae. All subjects had no auditory sensation resulting from semicircular canal stimulation alone, and no sensation of motion or slow-phase eye movement resulting from cochlear stimulation alone. However, interleaved cochlear stimulation did produce changes in the slow-phase eye velocities elicited by electrical stimulation. Similarly, interleaved semicircular canal stimulation did elicit changes in the perceived pitch and loudness resulting from stimulation at multiple sites in the cochlea. There are significant interactions between different sensory modalities during stimulation with a combined vestibular and cochlear prosthesis. Such interactions present potential challenges for stimulation strategies to simultaneously restore auditory and vestibular function with such an implant. © 2020 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.

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