This time, a 3-year-old boy from North Carolina received a first-of-it’s kind surgery for a child in the U.S. where he was given an “auditory brain stem implant,” WBTV-TV reported.
Although some deaf patients are given the ability to hear through a cochlear implant, this didn’t work for Grayson Clamp who was born missing cochlear nerves.
The microchip now in Clamp’s brain is part of a trial at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill.
Clamp’s mom said they don’t know what exactly her son is able to hear, because the technology is so new. But based on WBTV’s footage showing his father saying “daddy loves you,” Grayson clearly hears something.
“It’s been phenomenal for us,” Len Clamp, the boy’s father, told the station.
Watch WBTV’s report with Grayson responding to hearing his father’s voice:
“I’ve never seen another look like that,” Len Clamp said after seeing his son’s face light up at hearing sound, WRAL-TV reported. “I mean he looked deep into my eyes and he was hearing my voice for the first time.”
A clinical trial for auditory brain stem implants in children was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in January of this year. This trial is headed the House Research Institute in partnership with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Vittorio Colletti, MD of the University of Verona Hospital, Verona, Italy. Grayson Clamp’s surgery at UNC was part of this FDA trial.
A press release about the trial described the implant as bypassing the inner ear and hearing nerve completely, giving auditory messages to the brain stem directly.
“This will be the first FDA-approved trial of its kind, and represents a major step forward to bring a sense of hearing to deaf children in the U.S. who are born without a hearing nerve or cochlea (hearing organ) and therefore are unable to benefit from hearing aids or cochlear implants,” Neil Segil, Ph.D, executive vice president for research at House Research Institute, said in a statement.
“Since its development at the House Research Institute in 1979 by Drs. William House and William Hitselberger, the ABI has been successful in providing a sense of sound to many adults in the U.S., however it has never been approved by the FDA for treating deafness in children. This study has the potential to expand the use of this remarkable device, which represents the only effective sensory prosthetic for direct brain stimulation in use today.”