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Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2515; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17112515

Concept and Evaluation of a New Piezoelectric Transducer for an Implantable Middle Ear Hearing Device

1
School of Mechatronic Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and Vibrations, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200240, China
3
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Zhongshan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 September 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 2 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implantable Sensors 2018)
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Abstract

Implantable middle ear hearing devices (IMEHDs) have been developed as a new technology to overcome the limitations of conventional hearing aids. The piezoelectric cantilever transducers currently used in the IMEHDs have the advantages of low power consumption and ease of fabrication, but generate less high-frequency output. To address this problem, we proposed and designed a new piezoelectric transducer based on a piezoelectric stack for the IMEHD. This new transducer, attached to the incus body with a coupling rod, stimulates the ossicular chain in response to the expansion-and-contraction of its piezoelectric stack. To test its feasibility for hearing loss compensation, a bench testing of the transducer prototype and a temporal bone experiment were conducted, respectively. Bench testing results showed that the new transducer did have a broad frequency bandwidth. Besides, the transducer was found to have a low total harmonic distortion (<0.75%) in all frequencies, and small release time (1 ms). The temporal bone experiment further proved that the transducer has the capability to produce sufficient vibrations to compensate for severe sensorineural hearing loss, especially at high frequencies. This property benefits the treatment of the most common sloping high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. To produce a 100 dB SPL equivalent sound pressure at 1 kHz, its power consumption is 0.49 mW, which is low enough for the transducer to be utilized in the IMEHD. View Full-Text
Keywords: implantable middle ear hearing device; hearing loss; piezoelectric transducer; piezoelectric stack; incus body; temporal bone; evaluation studies implantable middle ear hearing device; hearing loss; piezoelectric transducer; piezoelectric stack; incus body; temporal bone; evaluation studies
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Liu, H.; Cheng, J.; Yang, J.; Rao, Z.; Cheng, G.; Yang, S.; Huang, X.; Wang, M. Concept and Evaluation of a New Piezoelectric Transducer for an Implantable Middle Ear Hearing Device. Sensors 2017, 17, 2515.

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