The National Institutes of Health is bankrolling the clinical evaluation of a brainstem implant that promises to restore hearing in deaf children.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the House Research Institute will coordinate the 5-year trial for auditory brainstem implant (ABI) treatment. ABI was developed at House Research Institute in the 1970s, and the device has already successfully correct deafness in adults.
ABI overrides the body’s inner ear and hearing nerve to directly stimulate brainstem neurons which are responsible for sense and motor control in the face and neck.
The implant has shown promising results in children outside the U.S., according to a statement from by Dr. Laurie Eisenberg, co-principal investigator of the trial and director at House Research Institute. Only children with who have been deaf in both ears from birth eligible for the implant. They also must have a damaged or absent inner ear or hearing nerve.
"The clinical trial grant provides us with vital funding to begin phase 1 of our surgical trial of the pediatric ABI in the U.S.," ABI investigator Dr. Marc Schwartz added.
This is the 1st time the NIH’s National Institute on Deafness & Communications Disorders agency has funded a pediatric ABI clinical trial, according to House Research Institute.