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January 15, 2004

House Ear Institute: Media Alert & Press Conference Tomorrow at 8 A.M. PST; New Brain Implant Restores Some Hearing to Deaf Patients

From: Business Wire (press release) - Jan 15, 2004


After a 15-year effort, physicians and researchers successfully deliver sound to the brain with an auditory brainstem implant that uses new microelectrode technology


Physicians at the House Ear Clinic recently surgically implanted a second patient with a Penetrating Electrode Auditory Brainstem Implant (PABI), a prosthetic hearing device that is currently in clinical trials. This investigational device is designed to activate hearing neurons with more precision than previous devices to improve speech recognition for patients suffering from a hereditary disease called Neurofibromatosis Type II (NF2). NF2 can cause profound hearing loss through the growth of bilateral tumors on the balance (vestibular) nerves.

WHO: Neurosurgeon William E. Hitselberger, M.D., and Neurotologist Derald E. Brackmann, M.D., of the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles implanted the device. They worked closely with research scientist Robert V. Shannon, Ph.D., and research audiologist Steve Otto, M.A., on development of the device at the House Ear Institute (HEI). Neurophysiologist Douglas B. McCreery, Ph.D., of Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI) in Pasadena, designed the penetrating electrode array. Audiologist Pete Arkis, M.A., the Clinical Support Software Manager from Cochlear Americas, the device manufacturer, is working with the HEI team to test the new device.

WHEN: Friday, January 16, 2004, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Statements from:

Surgeons William Hitselberger, M.D., and Derald Brackmann, M.D., on the surgery PABI Patient #2 on her motivation, expectation and results
Robert Shannon, Ph.D., on PABI technology
Douglas McCreery, Ph.D., on electrode array design
Pete Arkis, M.A., on manufacture and testing of device

8:25 a.m. - 9 a.m. Q&A with all the experts

DIAL-IN: If unable to attend, participate by calling: 1-304-345-7354, then use call-in code: 168515

Questions will be taken on a first-come-first-serve basis.

WHERE: House Ear Institute (HEI)
5th Floor Boardroom
2100 West Third Street (at Alvarado)
Los Angeles, CA 90057

WHY: The experts collaborating on this breakthrough technology want to discuss the impact the PABI technology may have on hearing science, medical prosthetics and future patients.


House Ear Institute (HEI)
Christa Spieth Nuber
Director, Media Relations & Communications