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I have Neurofibromatosis – What is an ABI?

 In Neurofibromatosis, Uncategorized

An Auditory Brainstem Implant or ABI:

If you have been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) and are twelve years of age or older, you may benefit from the Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI).  NF2 is a rare genetic condition and you may be struggling to find information on this new diagnosis.  The Arizona Hearing Center is the right place to seek help.  NF2 commonly affects the hearing and/or balance systems due to neuromas (benign growths) on the nerves that carry information from the ear to the brain.  Dr. Mark Syms has many years experience treating NF2 and implanting the ABI.  Depending on the size of the growth and the surgical approach, removal of the tumor may result in deafness in that ear.  If the nerve is damaged, it is not able to process sound.  Therefore, a hearing aid or cochlear implant are not options for treatment because they use the hearing nerve to send sound signals to the brain.  The ABI bypasses the hearing nerve and stimulates the brain-stem directly.

Currently, there is only one device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The Cochlear Corporation ABI 24M was approved in 2000 for the treatment of hearing loss in people with Neurofibromatosis type 2 . This is an ABI 

1. Microphones on the sound processor pick up sounds, and the processor converts them into digital   information.
2. This information is transferred through the coil to implant just under the skin.
3. The implant sends digital sound signals down the electrode array located on the brainstem.
4. The electrodes stimulate the brainstem, which the brain perceives as sound.
This image was provided by Cochlears of America

Since NF2 is a genetic condition, we encourage all family members to be evaluated for hearing and balance difficulties.  We are here to answer your questions and support your search for information.  If you need information or an evaluation, Arizona Hearing Center can help.

Summer time is upon us… wondering about swimming with hearing aids?  Click here to find out more.

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