Finite Element Modeling of Current Flow from Cochlear Implant Stimulation

Phillip Tran, Qing Li, and Paul Carter


Biomedical modeling, Finite element methods, Cochlear implant, Current flow


To understand the current flow due to cochlear implant stimulation, an accurate three-dimensional (3D) finite element model of the human head was developed using high-resolution anatomical data obtained from the Visible Human Project. A purely resistive model with six different tissue properties was used. Monopolar cochlear stimulation was studied using the model in order to observe the different pathways through which current travels from the intracochlear electrode array to the return electrodes. The internal auditory canal was found to be the major pathway for current flow, in agreement with the literature. It is interesting to note that a significant portion of the current distribution also went through the jugular vein. This study raises many questions which an improved model could answer.

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