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Who is a Candidate for an Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI)?

William H. Shapiro, AuD

February 1, 2016

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Question

What type of patient is an appropriate candidate for an auditory brainstem implant (ABI)?

Answer

According to FDA regulations, only adults with NF2 are approved candidates for an auditory brainstem implant; however, they have been performed on pediatric patients for years in European countries. In the US, a handful of medical centers are undergoing FDA approved feasibility studies in the pediatric population. 

Criteria for selection for our research here at New York University (NYU) is the following:

  • Age 18 months to 21 years
    • ​Two groups - 18 months to 5 years; up to 21 years (post-lingual group)
  • ​Bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss documented on physiologic and behavioral assessment
  • No cochlea or cochlear nerve hypoplasia/aplasia
  • Inability to place a CI due to fibrous growth from previous CI
  • Meningitis with no benefit from CI
  • Strong family support
  • English language competency in guardians
  • Reasonable expectations of family
  • ​Understand that child may not develop oral language

Exclusion criteria include:

  • Medical contraindications
  • Cognitive or developmental delays that could interfere progress/performance
  • Anomaly or pathology of brainstem or cortex
  • NF2 or other brainstem or cranial nerve tumors
  • Psychological contraindication
This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the CEU course, 20Q: Auditory Brainstem Implants - Continued Advancements for Both Adults and Children.  Register to view the full course. 


william h shapiro

William H. Shapiro, AuD

William H. Shapiro received his Master of Arts degree in Audiology from Queens College of the CUNY in 1978. He received his Doctorate of Audiology from Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University in 2007. He has worked at New York University since 1984 where he has been involved with all aspects of diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology, including the dispensing of assistive hearing technology (hearing aids, cochlear implants, and FM systems). He currently holds the title, Lester S. Miller, Jr.& Kathleen V. Miller Clinical Assistant Professor of Hearing Health, in the Department of Otolaryngology, is Director of FGP Audiology, and is Supervising Audiologist at the New York University Cochlear Implant Center, a nationally recognized center of excellence in the field of cochlear implants. Dr. Shapiro has authored several publications for peer reviewed journals as well as book chapters. He has presented at conventions, both nationally, as well as internationally. He serves on the advisory board of two cochlear implant manufacturers. He is the 2008 recipient of the “Outstanding Clinician Award” received from the New York State Speech, Language and Hearing Association.


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