A brain implant in Alex Frederick’s brain has allowed the little boy to hear for the first time in his 17 months of living, thanks to the presence of a brain implant that was performed in a Boston hospital. This particular device has yet to be approved in the United States for children, but this move ought to help change the perception. In fact, it has been implanted directly into his brain so that he can hear. It was not too long ago that Alex’s parents tried for a cochlear implant, which happens to be a 40-year-old technology that relies on electrodes to stimulate auditory nerves, but the surgery was not successful. With the Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) however, a tiny antenna which has been implanted on the brainstem allows one to pick up signals from a small microphone that is worn on the ear, before relaying them back inside to the brain’s segment that is associated with interpreting sound in the form of electrical signals.
Alex is not the first successful patient to undergo the ABI surgery, as previous patients who benefited included a young lady who was deaf once, but is now able to carry out phone conversations without missing a beat. This is just the first step fr Alex, as he will still need to go through speech therapy alongside a fine tuning process for what goes on in the implant.