Hearing implants coming to U.S.

Sept. 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A research institute and a children's hospital, both in Los Angels, say they've teamed with Italian researchers to bring hearing implants to deaf U.S. children.

House Research Institute and Children's Hospital Los Angeles have announced an agreement with the University of Verona to collaborate on teaching and research to advance the use of the Auditory Brainstem Implant in children.

The ABI has been used successfully in Italy with children and the goal of the partnership is to bring the hearing implants to deaf children in the United States, a release from the House Research Institute said Friday.

In some children born with no hearing nerve who cannot be helped by a hearing aid or a cochlear implant, the ABI bypasses the inner ear and hearing nerve to stimulate the brainstem directly allowing the brain to hear sound, researchers said.

First developed at the House Research, the ABI has been approved in adults since 2000.

"We are excited about partnering with Children's Hospital and the University of Verona to accelerate the progress of auditory brainstem implantation in U.S. children," Eric Wilkinson, co-principal investigator at House Research Institute, said.

Currently, children in the United States who could benefit from an ABI must travel to outside the United States to have the surgery.

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