Katherine Fong

The Great Unknown: An Investigation of Audiologists’ Familiarity with Auditory Brainstem Implants (ABIs), Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), Their Clinical Knowledge Regarding Candidacy Criteria, and Outcomes of ABIs

April 3, 2021   /  

Name: Katherine Fong
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Advisor: Dr. Donald M. Goldberg, Dr. Joan E. Furey

This study investigated audiologists’ familiarity with Auditory Brainstem Implants (ABIs) in adult patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). A secondary purpose of this study was to investigate the level of knowledge practicing audiologists have regarding auditory outcomes of ABI recipients. Areas that were investigated include audiologists’ knowledge of candidacy criteria for ABIs and CIs, their frequency in recommending ABIs to adult patients who have NF2, and other clinical aspects of ABIs. The researcher distributed an electronic survey to audiologists’ primarily through: recruitment emails; posts to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Groups (SIGs); Community Research Boards; CI and ABI centers; and to audiology departments at major U.S. hospitals. The first conclusion of this study was that the participants were not Extremely Familiar with NF2 and ABIs and would like to be educated about these topics. The second major conclusion was that audiologists were far more knowledge and familiar with variables of CIs including candidacy criteria, components, and range of auditory outcomes compared to those of ABIs. The third major conclusion was that participants were seemingly moderately uncomfortable to neither comfortable nor uncomfortable when needing to discuss or describe various factors such as diagnosis and treatment options regarding NF2 to adult patients. The fourth conclusion was that the participants were Moderately Comfortable to Extremely Comfortable when needing to discuss the range of auditory outcomes with CIs but ‘neutral’ to Moderately Comfortable when discussing the range of auditory outcomes with ABIs.

Keywords: auditory brainstem implant (ABI), cochlear implant (CI), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), adults with hearing loss

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Katherine will be online to field comments on April 16:
4-6 pm EDT (PST 1pm-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)

29 thoughts on “The Great Unknown: An Investigation of Audiologists’ Familiarity with Auditory Brainstem Implants (ABIs), Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), Their Clinical Knowledge Regarding Candidacy Criteria, and Outcomes of ABIs”

    1. Thank you Tessa! I could not have done it without you. I appreciate you so much!

  1. This is interesting work Katherine. It really highlights how information on newer technology and procedures (like ABI) are not as well understood by audiologists, and the need for more education. Well done!

  2. Hi Katie! Great job and congratulations! I loved learning about your research. One question – assuming ABI technology is newer than CI technology, do you think that impacts audiologists’ familiarity with the ABIs?

    1. Thank you! And, Yes I do think that impacts audiologists’ familiarity with ABIs especially since they might not be taught much about the device in grad school, but that is an area for future research.

  3. Congratulations, Katie!! I’m so proud to know you and have gotten to tackle this year together <3

    1. Thank you so much! So glad to have you and thank you for always helping me with my questions!

  4. So proud of you Katie!! I remember us sitting in our dorm room trying to figure out what to do for Junior I.S. so to see it all come together and read your conclusions is so exciting! Definitely some stuff to think about when we are in grad school and when we become clinicians if we have patients with NF2. Miss you!

    1. Thank you! So proud of you too! I can’t wait to hear about grad school from you. Miss you!

  5. This is so amazing, thinking how far we’ve come since intro, this work is phenomenal! Nice job!

  6. Katie,
    Way to go! I am so proud of you, and all that you have accomplished! These types of research papers are complex, exciting, and difficult! Be proud of yourself! This is interesting, and important research that you will be able to add to during your graduate school endeavors at Wayne State! I can’t wait to watch your journey!
    How would you add to this research in grad school?


    1. Thank you mom! I would like to know just how much information about ABIs and NF2 are taught in grad school, so maybe a future survey or I will wait and see through my time taking classes.

  7. Hi Katie! Congratulations on your IS study! This is an interesting topic. How many participants did you have in your study? Was it challenging to recruit audiologists with current or previous experience as a CI and/or ABI team member? Good luck at Wayne State!

    1. Hi Dr. Keelor! Thank you! I had 29 total participants in my study. It was definitely challenging to find participants. I tried to call one of the big implant manufacturers to see if they had a list of organizations I could contact but they didn’t even know what an ABI was even though they manufacture one of them.

  8. Katie!

    Your work is incredibly important to the field and I am so proud of you!

    Were you surprised by any of your findings? Did you think that the participants would have more knowledge on these topics?

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you! Yes, I was shocked that the participants were not as knowledgeable as I thought they were going to be. I did think that the participants were going to be more knowledgeable especially with CIs because they are more common.

  9. Hi Katie! What a fascinating and important subject–I’ve never heard of ABIs before today, and am glad to know. Congratulations!!

  10. Very important finding, Katie! I am glad you are bringing your knowledge to graduate school about the lack of experience audiologists have with ABIs. Your poster is great, very informative! Congratulations on all your hard work and resourcefulness in getting participants!!! Do you plan to continue to study in this area in graduate school? Best of luck on your future endeavors!!!

    1. Thank you so much! I will study audiology in graduate school and potentially specialize in an area with devices like an ABI. I will definitely use some of the knowledge I gained from this study in graduate school. Thank you again!

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