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The New Auditory Midbrain Implant – Second Clinical Trial
18 April 2018 (online)
During 2006 – 2008, five deaf patients were implanted at Hannover Medical School (MHH) with a novel hearing prosthesis within the inferior colliculus (IC), known as the single-shank auditory midbrain implant (AMI). It has a straight array of 22 sites (by Cochlear Limited) and was developed as an alternative to the auditory brainstem implant (ABI) for people especially with Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) who have no intact hearing nerve and where a cochlear implant is ineffective. However, hearing performance for the five AMI patients consisted mainly of improvements in lip-reading similar to that of ABI patients with NF2.
Further animal and human studies showed that the limited hearing performance was likely related to suppressive effects in the IC induced by temporal stimulation patterns when presented on a single-shank array. Therefore, a new AMI having two shanks in parallel was developed (11 sites along each shank) and is going to be implanted in five patients in a second clinical trial at MHH funded by National Institutes of Health (U01DC013030). Different clinical tests will be performed for example pitch ranking or scaling, with the goal to develop a better stimulation strategy that improves speech performance.
In 2017 the first patient was implanted without complications, the implant is running well, and we got initial data so far.
It could be shown a safe implantation of a two-shank AMI and that we could collect first data. Nevertheless, further testing is needed to collect more data though.