Auditory brainstem implants, which were developed in the 1970s at the House Clinic and House Ear Institute, are implantable hearing devices that allow for direct electrical stimulation of the auditory pathway at the brainstem, effectively bypassing the cochlea and the cochlear nerve. They were originally developed to rehabilitate hearing in patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) with damaged or nonfunctional cochlear nerves. Over time, their indications have expanded, and auditory brainstem implants are now used in children who benefit minimally from cochlear implants—specifically, children with congenital hearing loss and an absent cochlea and/or cochlear (auditory) nerve or both.

Auditory brainstem implants comprise an internal electrode pad and receiver–stimulator, which are placed during surgery, used in conjunction with an external microphone, speech processor, and transmitter. Some ...

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