Auditory brainstem implant

An auditory brainstem implant provides hearing to people with hearing loss who can’t get help from a hearing aid or cochlear implant. This is commonly due to a missing small hearing nerve or a seriously abnormal inner ear (cochlea).

Auditory brainstem implant

Who Needs Auditory Brainstem Implant?

  • Adults detected with neurofibromatosis type 2 – a rare genetic disorder
  • A child born without a functioning auditory nerve
  • Are deaf because of the atypically shaped inner ear (cochlea)
  • Improper inner ear development (cochlear hypoplasia)
  • Any missing inner ear structures (cochlea aplasia)
  • Bone overgrowth (cochlear otosclerosis)
  • Improper bone development (cochlear ossification)
  • Have injured or severed an auditory nerve, possibly due to fractures of the temporal bone on both sides of their head
  • Have other reasons for deafness, where a hearing aid or cochlear implant can’t help

How Is Auditory Brainstem Implant Performed?

In a person with neurofibromatosis type 2, this surgery is mostly done at the same time, when the tumour is removed from the hearing nerves.

Auditory brainstem implant has three main parts:

  • A microphone and sound processor are placed behind the ear to pick up sounds
  • A decoding chip is kept under the skin to transmit messages picked up by the microphone
  • Electrodes connected directly to the brainstem that, when triggered, alert one to sound

A person wears this device on top of the ear or on side of the head. The processor contains a microphone that picks up sound from the surroundings, converts the sound to an electrical signal, and sends the signal to the implant and device can be removed while a person sleeps.


Auditory brainstem implant is suggested for a person with complete hearing loss because of a non-functioning or absent inner ear or auditory hearing nerve.

You should be staying in the hospital for two or four days after the procedure. The hospital stay may be extended depending on the specific health condition and nature of the surgery.

This is a complex surgery. Any brain procedure comes with risks. It's also hard to predict how well an ABI will be effective for a person.

No, this implant can't wholly restore hearing, however, it does improve Sound knowledge Ability to detect and differentiate sounds A person skill to identify sounds in the environment, resulting in better person-to-person contact Lip reading potential

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