Spatial selective infrared neural stimulation has potential to improve neural prostheses, including cochlear implants. The heating of a confined target volume depolarizes the cell membrane and results in an action potential. Tissue heating may also results in thermal damage or the generation of a stress relaxation wave. Stress relaxation waves may result in a direct mechanical stimulation of remaining hair cells in the cochlea, so called optophony. Data are presented that quantify the effect of an acoustical stimulus (noise masker) on the response obtained with INS in normal hearing, acutely deafened, and chronic deaf animals. While in normal hearing animals an acoustic masker can reduce the response to INS, in acutely deafened animals the masking effect is reduced, and in chronic deaf animals this effect has not been detected. The responses to INS remain stable following the different degrees of cochlear damage.