Evaluation of Vibrant® Soundbridge™ positioning and results with laser doppler vibrometry and the finite element model
- Horia Mocanu
- Matthias Bornitz
- Nicoloz Lasurashvili
- Thomas Zahnert
- Published online on: January 25, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2021.9694
Copyright: © Mocanu
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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The etiology of hearing loss originates from genetic factors and includes several other events including infections, working or living environment, as well as several endocrine and metabolic disorders. The Vibrant® Soundbridge™ (VSB) is an implantable hearing aid whose floating mass transducer (FMT) is attached to the long process of the incus. The device is used for pure sensorineural hearing loss with an intact middle ear. Variations in the manner of attachment may occur. Knowledge of the impact of such variations on the overall device performance may guide towards optimal transducer attachment during surgery. A mechanical modelling of the ear was first reported by von Békésy and indicated that the tympanic membrane (TM) moves as a stiff plate, and that the mallear and incudal ligaments act as a rotation axis for the ossicular chain at low frequencies. Experimental investigations and simulations with the model yield the same main results. The first fitting situation, where the FMT floats freely in the middle ear, provides by far the worst possible results. Contact to the stapes supra‑structure of the FMT is necessary for optimal performance of the FMT. The mastoid specimen preserves its acoustic properties that have been shown to be similar to those in the vital human ear, under these conditions. Properly coupling the electromagnetic transducer to the ossicles can be difficult and it requires a certain degree of experience. A finite‑element model (FEM) is useful for functional evaluation of the VSB since it enables easy modelling of the complicated middle ear structures and simulation of their dynamic behavior which makes it easy to understand it in detail without experiments.