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Reducing Current Spread by Use of a Novel Pulse Shape for Electrical Stimulation of the Auditory Nerve.

Ballestero, J; Recugnat, M; Laudanski, J; Smith, KE; Jagger, DJ; Gnansia, D; McAlpine, D; (2015) Reducing Current Spread by Use of a Novel Pulse Shape for Electrical Stimulation of the Auditory Nerve. Trends in Hearing , 19 10.1177/2331216515619763. Green open access

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Abstract

Improving the electrode-neuron interface to reduce current spread between individual electrodes has been identified as one of the main objectives in the search for future improvements in cochlear-implant performance. Here, we address this problem by presenting a novel stimulation strategy that takes account of the biophysical properties of the auditory neurons (spiral ganglion neurons, SGNs) stimulated in electrical hearing. This new strategy employs a ramped pulse shape, where the maximum amplitude is achieved through a linear slope in the injected current. We present the theoretical framework that supports this new strategy and that suggests it will improve the modulation of SGNs' activity by exploiting their sensitivity to the rising slope of current pulses. The theoretical consequence of this sensitivity to the slope is a reduction in the spread of excitation within the cochlea and, consequently, an increase in the neural dynamic range. To explore the impact of the novel stimulation method on neural activity, we performed in vitro recordings of SGNs in culture. We show that the stimulus efficacy required to evoke action potentials in SGNs falls as the stimulus slope decreases. This work lays the foundation for a novel, and more biomimetic, stimulation strategy with considerable potential for implementation in cochlear-implant technology.

Type: Article
Title: Reducing Current Spread by Use of a Novel Pulse Shape for Electrical Stimulation of the Auditory Nerve.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/2331216515619763
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2331216515619763
Language: English
Additional information: (C) The Author(s) 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: auditory nerve, cochlear implant, electric stimulation, potassium channels, spiral ganglion neurons
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > The Ear Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472151
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