Artificial cochlear epithelium: Development of totally implantable hearing device using micro electro mechanical system

  • Nakagawa Takayuki
    Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University

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  • 超微細加工技術を用いた埋め込み型聴覚デバイス開発: 人工感覚上皮開発

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Hair cell loss is one of main causes for sensorineural hearing loss. The lack of the capacity for hair cell regeneration makes difficult to restore hearing in mammals. As an alternative of biological regeneration of hair cells, we have developed an artificial cochlear epithelium, which is capable to generate electricity in response to sound stimuli after implantation into a cochlea. The mechanical tonotopy for sound frequency remaining within the cochlea is utilized for discrimination of sound frequency. A piezoelectric membrane in an artificial cochlear epithelium converts sound vibration to electric signals. In vitro setting, an artificial cochlear epithelium generated electricity in response to sound application. After implantation into a guinea pig cochlea, sound stimuli were transmitted through the external auditory canal to a piezoelectric membrane in a cochlea. The application of sound to the stapes induced electrical output from the implanted artificial cochlear epithelium. These findings indicate the potential of an artificial cochlear epithelium as a novel hearing device.


  • Otology Japan

    Otology Japan 22 (5), 923-926, 2012

    Japan Otological Society


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