Auditory Brainstem Implants
Neurofibromatosis type 2 is a genetic disorder marked by the predisposition to develop a variety of tumors of the central and peripheral nervous system.
Sometimes these tumors can grow on the auditory nerve, which allows a person to hear. When the tumors are removed, the auditory nerve usually must be cut. As a result, a connection no longer exists between the still-functioning cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear, and the brain, causing hearing loss.
An auditory brainstem implant (ABI) is used to stimulate the cochlear nucleus in people with neurofibromatosis type 2 whose hearing nerves don’t function. The procedure has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Although people with neurofibromatosis type 2 tend to be completely deaf, and the benefit of an ABI is not as high as that of the cochlear implant, most recipients experience substantial improvement in hearing.
Auditory Brainstem Implant Project
We currently have an ongoing FDA-approved clinical trial for expanded use of the ABI device. Candidates are children without neurofibromatosis type 2, but who have absent or compromised hearing nerves or for any reason cannot benefit from a cochlear implant.