Boy receives first U.S. auditory brain stem implant

A three-year-old Charlotte, NC boy received a special gift this spring – an auditory brain stem implant, the first of its kind performed in the United States as part of an FDA investigational trial.

Grayson Clamp, three, was born with no cochlear nerves and as a result could not hear. The surgery, performed by Craig Buchman, MD, Professor Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, and Matthew Ewend, MD, Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, is the first of its kind performed in the United States as part of an FDA clinical trial.

In January, the FDA gave final approval to begin clinical trials on the procedure for children.

"I've never seen a look like that today," said Len Clamp, Grayson's father, after the implant was turned on for the first time. "I mean, he looked deep into my eyes. He was hearing my voice for the first time. It was phenomenal." "Seeing him respond, that had a lot of feelings for me," said Dr. Buchman. "I felt like there was a potential that we were effectively changing the world in some ways." Originally used for patients with deafness due to auditory nerve tumors, the implant is now being considered to help restore hearing in children.

Source: UNC School of Medicine

Video by Stephanie Mahin

R.S.