Development of a novel middle-ear electrode for tinnitus suppression – proof of concept
23 April 2019 (online)
Tinnitus is a phantom sound without external source. In Germany, round 10 million people are impaired by tinnitus. Intriguingly, hearing-impaired patients with cochlear implant often report reduction of their tinnitus following the implantation. Such reduction is presumably not only due to recovery of patients' hearing abilities but also due to the electrical stimulation. However, electrical stimulation therapy is not available for tinnitus patients without hearing loss.
The aim of our project is to determine the individual tinnitus suppression parameters to be used in clinical trials as well as to establish an animal model for testing the new middle ear tinnitus-suppressing electrodes.
The clinical part uses a routine clinical diagnostic step prior to cochlear implantation, namely stimulation via external ear canal. The already implanted patients can be stimulated directly via their cochlear electrode. The efficiency of stimulation (duration approximately two minutes), is determined by collecting several tinnitus parameters bevor, during, and after the stimulation. The patients react in a various ways by a temporary tinnitus suppression during and/or after the electrical stimulation.
In addition, the focus of preclinical study is on determining the shape, size and flexibility of new electrodes. For the first implantation tests, polyimide based electrode carrier are used. Guinea pig are used as an animal model to determine the performance of the tinnitus-suppressing implants.