Stimulation of the human auditory nerve with optical radiation

Andrew Fishman, Agnella Izzo Matic, Piotr Winkler, Jozef Mierzwinski, Wojciech Beuth, Zygmunt Siedlecki, Ingo Teudt, Hannes Maier, Claus Peter Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A novel, spatially selective method to stimulate cranial nerves has been proposed: contact free stimulation with optical radiation. The radiation source is an infrared pulsed laser. The Case Report is the first report ever that shows that optical stimulation of the auditory nerve is possible in the human. The ethical approach to conduct any measurements or tests in humans requires efficacy and safety studies in animals, which have been conducted in gerbils. This report represents the first step in a translational research project to initiate a paradigm shift in neural interfaces. A patient was selected who required surgical removal of a large meningioma angiomatum WHO I by a planned transcochlear approach. Prior to cochlear ablation by drilling and subsequent tumor resection, the cochlear nerve was stimulated with a pulsed infraredlaser at low radiation energies. Stimulation with optical radiation evoked compound action potentials from the human auditory nerve. Stimulation of the auditory nerve with infrared laser pulses is possible in the human inner ear. The finding is an important step for translating results from animal experiments to human and furthers the development of a novel interface that uses optical radiation to stimulate neurons. Additional measurements are required to optimize the stimulation parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number71800M
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2009
EventPhotons and Neurons - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 25 2009Jan 26 2009


  • Cochlear implant
  • Human
  • Infrared nerve stimulation
  • Optical stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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