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Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI)

Designed Especially for
Neurofibromatosis Type 2

The MED-EL Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) is a solution for individuals with hearing loss due to a non-functioning auditory nerve (Neurofibromatosis Type 2). Bypassing both the inner ear and the auditory nerve, the MED-EL ABI stimulates the cochlear nucleus (CN) and provides users with a variety of hearing sensations to assist with sound awareness and communication.

An ABI consists of two components, the external audio processor and the implant. The audio processor is either an OPUS 2 or OPUS 1. The implant consists of an electronics housing and an implantable soft silicone matrix with a 12 contact electrode array. The 5.5 × 3.0 mm matrix is the active interface between the stimulation electronics and the neural tissue. An additional reference electrode is used for advanced telemetry measurements providing added functional reliability and control.
The soft silicone matrix with a 12 contact electrode array is surgically inserted directly onto the brainstem. The implant stimulates the cochlear nucleus, which enables the recipient to distinguish a variety of sounds. Following surgery and the post-operative healing period of 14 days, the user is required to undergo an intensive training period with a qualified audiologist to learn how to interpret sounds and understand speech. Generally, it is important to realise that speech understanding with an ABI is not on the same level as speech understanding for cochlear implant recipients. Extensive training is all the more crucial for this reason, allowing the recipient to gain the best benefit from an ABI and to make the most of this advanced technology.
 

ABI Candidacy

An ABI is a solution for patients who are at least 15 years of age and who have been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). With NF2, both cochlear nerves may no longer be able to function, or it may be anticipated that the nerves will no longer be able to function due to the presence or removal of a tumour. An ABI is therefore suitable for patients whose auditory nerves have been irreversibly damaged.

Attention: Device implantation and tumour removal shall both take place within the same surgery.
 

MED-EL ABI System Advantages

  • Implantable soft silicone matrix with an active 12 point electrode array
  • Comprehensive telemetry measurements pre and post surgery
  • 12 individual stimulation contacts with separate current sources
  • Highly sophisticated ABI surgical placement system
     

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) Explained

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), also known as Bilateral Acoustic NF (BAN), is a rare genetic disorder that affects approximately 1 in 40,000 individuals. NF2 can either be inherited or occur spontaneously without any apparent familial history. A hallmark of NF2 is the presence of bilateral acoustic neuromas which originate in the vestibular nerve and often invade the adjacent auditory nerve causing progressive hearing loss and ultimately deafness. Auditory Brainstem Implants stimulate the cochlear nucleus (CN) and have the potential to provide NF2 subjects with hearing sensations that assist with sound awareness and communication.
 
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