Wilson Auditory Brainstem Implant Program
The Auditory Brainstem Implant Program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear was founded in 2008 with a generous donation from Helene and Grant Wilson.
The ABI team is comprised of pediatric and adult skull base surgeons, audiologists, neurologists, and scientists from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and the Massachusetts General Hospital. We provide audiologic, medical, and surgical support (including hearing aids, cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants) for patients who have Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). Many of our patients are seen both in the NF Clinic at MGH as well as in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Audiology at Mass. Eye and Ear.
We also care for infants, children, and adults who do not have NF2, but have deafness from conditions that do not allow for successful cochlear implant surgery. These patients may have severe congenital malformation of the inner ear (no hearing nerve or cochlea), scarring of both inner ears due to infection or meningitis, otosclerosis, injury to the hearing nerve or inner ear from a severe skull fracture, or auditory neuropathy/dyssynchrony (AN/AD).
Massachusetts Eye and Ear is currently conducting the only FDA approved clinical trial in the U.S. for adult deaf patients who do not have NF2 to receive the ABI.
A second study for pediatric patients who are deaf but do not have NF2 to receive the ABI was FDA approved in May 2013.
Daniel J. Lee, M.D., FACS
Director, Pediatric Ear, Hearing, and Balance Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Director, Wilson Auditory Brainstem Implant Program
Department of Otology and Laryngology
Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts Eye and Ear
243 Charles Street, Boston MA 02114-3096
Above: The three sets of images demonstrate the auditory brainstem implant system that is currently approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA. It resembles the cochlear implant except that the electrode is a flat paddle that is placed on the cochlear nucleus of the auditory brainstem to provide hearing sensations to the pediatric and adult ABI recipient. Candidates for the ABI are deaf and cannot receive the cochlear implant due to injury or absent auditory nerve or cochlea.