Reiter Chad (Committee Member), Robert Goldenberg (Committee Member), Yan Zhuang (Advisor)
Master of Science in Engineering (MSEgr)
Hearing loss is a prevalent issue, affecting all ages in innumerable occupations. Cochlear implants are one solution to sensorineural hearing complications; and though they are commonly used, the electronic devices have limitations in power consumption and external equipment. Piezoelectric films emulate the relationship between the basilar membrane and inner hair cell structures of the human cochlear epithelium, inducing a potential difference in response to sound pressure. Through proper MEMS fabrication and material selection, an artificial cochlear can be developed utilizing piezoelectrics, which is self-sustainable and functions naturally with the mechanisms of the human ear. This research investigates the feasibility of piezoelectric films in achieving adequate voltage output and frequency selectivity to replace the human cochlea. Piezoelectric samples were manufactured for different resonant frequencies and subjected to air vibrations, after which the resulting voltage was recorded. Through both simulated and experimental data, the necessary 5-10mV to stimulate nerve bundles connected to the hearing centers of the brain was realized. The response spanned the human speech register of 500 to 8000 Hz.
Department or Program
Department of Electrical Engineering
Year Degree Awarded
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