Auditory brainstem implants (ABIs) surgery is being made routinely available to profoundly deaf children in England.
NHS England has announced that two specialist teams at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London will perform the surgery for children across the country who are profoundly deaf, aged five years or under, and who are unable to use conventional hearing aids or implants.
The cost of the surgery is around £60,000 per patient, and an estimated nine children will undergo the procedure each year.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: “This truly life-changing surgery, which allows youngsters to hear their parents’ voices for the first time, will now be available across England for children who are deaf who have no other options.
“As we put the NHS Long Term Plan into practice, the health service will continue to make the very latest, innovative treatments, like this, available to patients across the country along with world class care,” Prof Powis said.
He added that, after the implant has been inserted, long-term support is crucial to help these children to learn to listen and understand new signals from their implant.