In this article, the authors describe the current state of the auditory brainstem implant (ABI), comparing it to that of the cochlear implant (CI). The CI restores hearing by stimulating the cochlear nerve in the cochlea in patients whose deafness has been caused by inner ear disease; the ABI restores hearing by stimulating the cochlear nucleus of the brainstem in patients who are deaf because of bilateral cochlear nerve dysfunction. Up to now, about 500 patients worldwide have undergone ABI and had their hearing restored, most of whom suffer from neurofibromatosis type 2. Hearing performance, however, is not as good as that offered by the cochlear implant. To improve the quality of hearing, new techniques such as advanced coding strategies and penetrating electrodes, are now being introduced.