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Evidence to Improve Care

Auditory Brainstem Implantation for Adults With Neurofibromatosis 2 or Severe Inner Ear Abnormalities

Draft Recommendation

Health Quality Ontario, under the guidance of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, recommends publicly funding:

  • Auditory brainstem implantation for adults with neurofibromatosis 2 who are not candidates for cochlear implantation

  • Auditory brainstem implantation for adults with severe inner ear abnormalities who are not candidates for cochlear implantation

Read the draft recommendation report

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A rare genetic disease called neurofibromatosis 2 affects the inner ear and eventually leads to complete deafness. The condition causes tumours to form in the person’s hearing nerves, so they slowly lose their hearing. Cochlear implants cannot help them hear again and are also not an option for people who lose their hearing from other rare inner ear abnormalities.

An auditory brainstem implant is the only treatment that may help people who have become deaf due to these conditions. Electrodes are surgically implanted into the base of the person’s brain. An ear-piece worn by the person picks up sounds and sends them to the implant. This does not restore normal hearing but may allow people to hear some sounds and to recognize speech.

Health Quality Ontario looked at how safe and effective auditory brainstem implants are for adults with neurofibromatosis 2 or severe inner ear abnormalities who cannot use a cochlear implant. We also looked at the budget impact of publicly funding these devices in Ontario, and at the experiences, preferences, and values of adults with these two conditions.

Read the full Health Technology Assessment report for more information.

Auditory Brainstem Implantation for Adults With Neurofibromatosis 2 or Severe Inner Ear Abnormalities: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)
April 2019

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About Health Quality Ontario

Health Quality Ontario is the provincial lead on the quality of health care. We help nurses, doctors and other health care professionals working hard on the frontlines be more effective in what they do—by providing objective advice and data, and by supporting them and government in improving health care for the people of Ontario.

We focus on making health care more effective, efficient and affordable through a legislative mandate of:

  • Reporting to the public, organizations, government and health care providers on how the health system is performing,

  • Finding the best evidence of what works, and

  • Translating this evidence into clinical standards; recommendations to health care professionals and funders; and tools that health care providers can easily put into practice to make improvements.

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