HYPOTHESIS: Intracranial pressure and skull vibrations are correlated and depend on the stimulation position and frequency.
BACKGROUND: A hearing sensation can be elicited by vibratory stimulation on the skin covered skull, or by stimulation on soft tissue such as the neck. It is not fully understood whether different stimulation sites induce the skull vibrations responsible for the perception or whether other transmission pathways are dominant. The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between intracranial pressure and skull vibration measured on the promontory for stimulation to different sites on the head.
METHODS: Measurements were performed on four human cadaver heads. A bone conduction hearing aid was held in place with a 5-Newton steel headband at four locations (mastoid, forehead, eye, and neck). While stimulating in the frequency range of 0.3 to 10 kHz, acceleration of the cochlear promontory was measured with a Laser Doppler Vibrometer, and intracranial pressure at the center of the head with a hydrophone.
RESULTS: Promontory acceleration and intracranial pressure was measurable for all stimulation sites. The ratios were comparable between all stimulation sites for frequencies below 2 kHz.
CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that both promontory acceleration and intracranial pressure are involved for stimulation on the sites investigated. The transmission pathway of sound energy is comparable for the four stimulation sites.