Vestibular dysfunctions increase the risk of falling, which has many detrimental consequences like (hip) fractures, hospital admissions, and even death. These consequences result in a decreased quality of life and increased economic costs. Especially deaf patients with impaired otolith function are at risk of falling. They are incapable of detecting auditory cues which influences their spatial orientation. Moreover, the otolith organs play an important role in detecting changes in gravity and are thus responsible for biological fall prevention. Unfortunately, the current treatment modalities (i.e. vestibular rehabilitation, drug therapy, and sensory substitution systems) for bilateral vestibulopathy are not always completely successful. For this type of patients, a successful treatment option needs to be developed urgently.
The goal of this project is therefore to develop a cochleo-vestibular implant, i.e. an implantable device that is capable of electrically restoring the auditory and vestibular function simultaneously.
2018 - present