An auditory brainstem implant provides hearing to people with hearing loss who cannot benefit from a hearing aid or cochlear implant. Most commonly this is when there is an absent or very small hearing nerve or severely abnormal inner ear (cochlea). The auditory brainstem implant directly stimulates the hearing pathways in the brainstem, bypassing the inner ear and hearing nerve.

Originally developed for adults diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 2, a rare genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on nerves, the surgery is now considered for adults and children with other nerve and inner ear abnormalities.

Mayo Clinic's approach