Auditory midbrain implant: Research and development towards a second clinical trial

Hubert H. Lim, Thomas Lenarz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The cochlear implant is considered one of the most successful neural prostheses to date, which was made possible by visionaries who continued to develop the cochlear implant through multiple technological and clinical challenges. However, patients without a functional auditory nerve or implantable cochlea cannot benefit from a cochlear implant. The focus of the paper is to review the development and translation of a new type of central auditory prosthesis for this group of patients that is known as the auditory midbrain implant (AMI) and is designed for electrical stimulation within the inferior colliculus. The rationale and results for the first AMI clinical study using a multi-site single-shank array will be presented initially. Although the AMI has achieved encouraging results in terms of safety and improvements in lip-reading capabilities and environmental awareness, it has not yet provided sufficient speech perception. Animal and human data will then be presented to show that a two-shank AMI array can potentially improve hearing performance by targeting specific neurons of the inferior colliculus. Anew two-shank array, stimulation strategy, and surgical approach are planned for the AMI that are expected to improve hearing performance in the patients who will be implanted in an upcoming clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. Positive outcomes from this clinical trial will motivate new efforts and developments toward improving central auditory prostheses for those who cannot sufficiently benefit from cochlear implants.This article is part of a Special Issue entitled <Lasker Award>.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-223
Number of pages12
JournalHearing Research
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • A1
  • ABI
  • ACC
  • AM
  • AMI
  • CI
  • CT
  • DRNL
  • DSS
  • IC
  • ICC
  • LFP
  • MGV
  • MRI
  • NF2
  • PABI
  • PSTH
  • R
  • SC
  • SSS

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