Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Auditory Brainstem Implants
Our auditory brainstem implant (ABI) program was founded in 2008 by a generous donation from Helene and Grant Wilson. An auditory brainstem implant is a lot like a cochlear implant, but instead of sending sounds to the cochlea, it sends sounds to the auditory part of the brainstem. The electrodes are on a flat paddle that is placed on the cochlear nucleus of the auditory brainstem. Candidates for an ABI are deaf children and adults who cannot receive the cochlear implant due to injury or absence of the auditory nerve or cochlea.
Many health insurance companies pay for aspects of these devices, therefore, we have a Device Coordinator on staff who will work with you to determine what is/is not covered after our multidisciplinary evaluation and recommendation. In general, the “medically necessary” parts and procedures are covered for people who meet candidacy criteria, but other features, such as those for connectivity and convenience, may not be.
In the case of clinical trials, there could be significant financial costs after the trial is complete. We use ABI devices from Cochlear (Australia) and MedEl (Austria).
The care team at Mass. Eye and Ear is comprised of pediatric and adult skull base surgeons, otologists, audiologists and speech-language pathologists.