The National Institutes of Health has awarded the House Research Institute and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles a grant for a five-year study aimed at restoring hearing in deaf children.
The clinical trial of the auditory brainstem implant will be monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. The implant was developed at Los Angeles-based House Research Institute in the late 1970s when the nonprofit was known as the House Ear Institute.
The implant is recognized as the first successful prosthetic hearing device to stimulate neurons at the human brainstem, bypassing the inner ear and hearing nerve entirely, according to HRI and CHLA.
More than 1,000 adults worldwide have received the implant.
“We are extremely excited to bring this revolutionary technology to Children’s Hospital. We are especially looking forward to offering this innovative procedure to provide sound to deaf children in the United States,” CHLA pediatric neurosurgeon Mark Krieger said.
Children considered for the trial must have congenital bilateral deafness resulting from a malformed or non-existent cochlea or hearing nerve.
Such patients cannot receive hearing benefits from a hearing aid or cochlear implant. Children with cochlear implants that have not provided benefit are also suitable candidates for the study. Ten children in the United States will have their surgical and audiological care provided by the trial grant.
Nathan Goss got an brain stem implant in Italy in 2008 when he was 3. At age 7, he is hearing and speaking well enough to be in a mainstream second-grade class, according to the researchers.