I am also Director of the Wilson Auditory Brainstem Implant program based at the Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass. General Hospital. We offer the auditory brainstem implant (ABI) as an option for infants, children, and adults who are deaf and cannot receive the cochlear implant. We care for Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) patients who are deaf from bilateral vestibular schwannomas (acoustic neuromas) as well as pediatric and adult patients who are deaf from scarred inner ears, or absent or damaged auditory nerves. We have two FDA clinical trials on the ABI in both children and adults.
Some medications cause irreversible damage to the ear, and are limited in their use for this reason. The most important group is the aminoglycosides (main member gentamicin ). A rare mitochondrial mutation, >G, can increase an individual's susceptibility to the ototoxic effect of aminoglycosides. Long term hydrocodone (Vicodin) abuse is known to cause rapidly progressing sensorineural hearing loss, usually without vestibular symptoms. Methotrexate , a chemotherapy agent, is also known to cause hearing loss. In most cases hearing loss does not recover when the drug is stopped. Paradoxically, methotrexate is also used in the treatment of autoimmune-induced inflammatory hearing loss.