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EN
Purpose: In this work, a finite element study is proposed to evaluate the effects of the transducer and its coupling layer on the performance of round window (RW) stimulation. Methods: Based on a set of micro-computer tomography images of a healthy adult’s right ear and reverse engineering technique, a coupled finite-element model of the human ear and the transducer was constructed and verified. Then, the effect of the cross-section of the transducer, the elastic modulus of the coupling layer, the mass of the transducer, and the preload of the transducer were studied. Results: The increase of the transducer’s cross-section area deteriorates the RW stimulation, especially at the lower frequencies. This adverse effect of the cross-section area’s increase of the transducer can be reduced by adding a coupling layer between the transducer and the RW. However, the coupling layer’s improvement on the RW stimulation is reduced with the increase of its elastic modulus. Moreover, the mass loading of the transducer decreases the RW stimulation’s performance mainly at higher frequencies and applying a static preload on the transducer enhances its hearing compensating performance at higher frequencies. Conclusions: The influence of the transducer’s mass, the mass of the transducer, the applied static preload and the properties of the coupling layer must be taken into account in the design of the RW stimulation type implantable middle ear hearing device.
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