N. Kallweit
P. Baumhoff
A. Krüger
N. Tinne
A. Heisterkamp
A. Kral
H. Maier
T. Ripken

Signal and response properties indicate an optoacoustic effect underlying the intra-cochlear laser-optical stimulation

SPIE Photonics West: BiOS
13.-18. Februar
San Francisco
Type: Konferenzbeitrag
Optical cochlea stimulation is under investigation as a potential alternative to conventional electric cochlea implants in treatment of sensorineural hearing loss. If direct optical stimulation of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) would be feasible, a smaller stimulation volume and, therefore, an improved frequency resolution could be achieved. However, it is unclear whether the mechanism of optical stimulation is based on direct neuronal stimulation or on optoacoustics. Animal studies on hearing vs. deafened guinea pigs already identified the optoacoustic effect as potential mechanism for intra-cochlear optical stimulation. In order to characterize the optoacoustic stimulus more thoroughly the acoustic signal along the beam path of a pulsed laser in water was quantified and compared to the neuronal response properties of hearing guinea pigs stimulated with the same laser parameters. Two pulsed laser systems were used for analyzing the influence of variable pulse duration, pulse energy, pulse peak power and absorption coefficient. Preliminary results of the experiments in water and in vivo suggest a similar dependency of response signals on the applied laser parameters: Both datasets show an onset and offset signal at the beginning and the end of the laser pulse. Further, the resulting signal amplitude depends on the pulse peak power as well as the temporal development of the applied laser pulse. The data indicates the maximum of the first derivative of power as the decisive factor. In conclusion our findings strengthen the hypothesis of optoacoustics as the underlying mechanism for optical stimulation of the cochlea.