Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which typically originates in the cochlea, is the most common otologic problem caused by aging and noise trauma. The cochlea, a delicate and complex biological mechanosensory transducer in the inner ear, has been extensively studied with the goal of improving diagnosis of SNHL. However, the difficulty associated with accessing the cochlea and resolving the microstructures that facilitate hearing within it in a minimally-invasive way has prevented us from being able to assess the pathology underlying SNHL in humans. To address this problem we investigated the ability of a multimodal optical system that combines optical coherence tomography (OCT) and single photon autofluorescence imaging (AFI) to enable visualization and evaluation of microstructures in the cochlea. A laboratory OCT/AFI imager was built to acquire high resolution OCT and single photon fluorescence images of the cochlea. The imager’s ability to resolve diagnostically-relevant details was evaluated in ears extracted from normal and noise-exposed mice. A prototype endoscopic OCT/AFI imager was developed based on a double-clad fiber approach. Our measurements show that the multimodal OCT/AFI imager can be used to evaluate structural integrity in the mouse cochlea. Therefore, we believe that this technology is promising as a potential clinical evaluation tool, and as a technique for guiding otologic surgeries such as cochlear implant surgery.
Jesung Park, Gopi N. Maguluri, Youbo Zhao, and Nicusor V. Iftimia, "Multimodal optical imager for inner ear hearing loss diagnosis (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10039, Optical Imaging, Therapeutics, and Advanced Technology in Head and Neck Surgery and Otolaryngology, 1003906 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253140.5369914033001.
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