SRD: The Stapedius Reflex Detector:
Towards the Dynamic Adaptation in Cochlea Implants

A Cochlea Implant

Keywords: Cochlea Implant, Stapedius Reflex, Neurological Feedback, Hardware/Software Co-Design

Motivation: The auditory sense plays an important role in the personal communication of humans. But unfortunately, this sense might be progressively degrading due to age, injuries and other reasons. In such cases, hearing devices are common means for a relief: by providing a frequency-selective amplification of the sound signal, they help regain at least parts of this important sense. By their very nature, hearing devices fail, if too many hair cells of the cochlea are destroyed. In such cases, cochlea implants can be the last resort. In essence, a cochlea implant consists of a small number of electrodes, which are inserted into the cochlea and which can electrically stimulate the hair cells that connect to the auditory cortex. The implant’s electrodes receive their stimulation input from a signal processor, which analyzes the incoming sound signals. But how to adapt the acoustic gain for a user, who has never been able to hear, or who’s cochlea has accustomed to the implant’s stimuli?

Goals: A system that
(1) allows for the dynamic, in-situ adaptation of cochlea implants,
(2) is able to exploit the stapedius reflex,
(3) is able correlate acoustic stimulation with the brain’s response.

Approaches: This project explores a combination of the following approaches:
(1) deriving the electrical activity of the stapedius muscle,
(2) detecting the stapedius reflex by correlating electrical signals with visual observations during surgery,
(3) and development of a first prototypical analysis platform that is based on the graphical user interface library Qt.


Research Team: Ralf Warmuth, Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Wilhelm Pau, and Ralf Salomon


Selected Publications: