Tinnitus Suppression After Auditory Brainstem Implantation in Patients With Neurofibromatosis Type-2 : Otology & Neurotology

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Tinnitus Suppression After Auditory Brainstem Implantation in Patients With Neurofibromatosis Type-2

Roberts, Daniel S.; Otto, Steve; Chen, Brian; Peng, Kevin A.; Schwartz, Marc S.; Brackmann, Derald E.; House, John W.

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Otology & Neurotology 38(1):p 118-122, January 2017. | DOI: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000001230



To evaluate whether an auditory brainstem implant (ABI) can impact levels of tinnitus in neurofibromatosis type-2 (NF2) patients who have undergone translabyrinthine craniotomy for vestibular schwannoma (VS) removal and to evaluate the burden of tinnitus in these patients.

Study Design: 

A retrospective case series and patient survey.


Tertiary neurotologic referral center.


NF2 patients who underwent translabyrinthine removal of VS and ABI placement between 1994 and 2015.


A survey, retrospective review and two validated tinnitus handicap questionnaires (tinnitus handicap inventory [THI] and tinnitus visual analogue scale [VAS]) were used to characterize the degree of tinnitus in NF2 patients and whether an ABI can alter tinnitus levels.

Main Outcome Measures(s): 

Survey results, THI and VAS scores.


One hundred twelve ABI users were contacted and 43 patients (38.3)% responded to our survey. Tinnitus was reported in 83.7% of patients. The THI score for responders was 17.8 ± 20.5 standard deviation (SD). For survey participants, the ABI reduced tinnitus levels (mean VAS: Off = 3.5; On 1-h = 2.1; p = 0.048). For patients who subjectively reported that the ABI reduced tinnitus loudness, tinnitus levels were immediately reduced on ABI activation and after 1 hour of use (mean VAS: Off = 4.8; On = 2.4; On 1-h = 1.8; p < 0.01). Suppression did not continue after the device was turned off. Audiological performance with the ABI did not correlate with tinnitus suppression.


NF2 patients who have undergone removal of VS have a significant tinnitus handicap and benefit from tinnitus suppression through utilization of an ABI possibly through masking or electrical stimulation of the auditory brainstem.

Copyright © 2016 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.

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