CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Auditory Neuropathy

(AN; Auditory Dyssynchrony; Auditory Synaptopathy; Neuropathy, Auditory; Auditory Processing Disorder)

Pronounced: AW-dih-tore-ee new-ROP-ah-thee

Definition

Auditory neuropathy (AN) occurs when the nerve system of the inner ear fails to process sounds coming from the outer ear.

The Ear

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

The outer ear sends vibrations to the inner ear during the hearing process. Hair cells in the inner ear break down the vibrations into electrical signals. These are sent to the brain. The brain filters them as sound. Multiple factors may represent the underlying cause of AN. It may be due to:

  • Damage to the hair cells in the inner ear
  • Bad connections between the hair cells in the inner ear and the nerve to the brain
  • Damaged nerve
  • A combination of these problems

Risk Factors    TOP

Factors that may increase your chance of AN include:

Symptoms    TOP

AN may cause:

  • White noise—the sound is heard, but the word is not clear
  • Sounds to tune in and out
  • Words and sounds to seem out of sync
  • Ringing in the ears— tinnitus

The level of hearing loss can vary from mild to severe. People with AN may have trouble picking out words. Many cases involve children.

Diagnosis    TOP

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:

  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR) to measure brainwave activity
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) to record how the cells in the ear respond to clicking sounds

Treatment    TOP

Goals of treatment include:

  • Saving current hearing skills
  • Restoring lost hearing
  • Finding new ways of communicating

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

  • Working with a team of specialists, including:
    • Otolaryngologist (ENT)—doctor specializing in disorders of the ear, nose, and throat
    • Audiologist—healthcare professional who specializes in hearing loss
    • Speech-language pathologist—healthcare professional who specializes in communication disorders
  • Using technology, such as:
    • Cochlear implants —surgically implanted electronic devices that stimulate the auditory nerve to send information to the brain
    • Hearing aids
    • Listening devices such as frequency modulation (FM) systems
  • Having speech-language therapy, such as:
    • Sign language
    • Speech-reading—also known as lip-reading
    • Exercises combining listening skills with technology

Prevention    TOP

In many cases, the exact cause of AN is unknown. However, these steps may help:

  • If you are pregnant, ask your doctor how you can avoid infections
  • Talk to your doctor if you have any conditions related to AN

RESOURCES:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
http://www.asha.org
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Ontario Association for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
https://www.osla.on.ca
Speech-Language & Audiology Canada
http://www.caslpa.ca

References:

Auditory neuropathy. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/auditory-neuropathy. Updated March 15, 2011. Accessed May 11, 2016.
Causes of hearing loss. My Baby’s Hearing website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 11, 2016.
Cochlear implants. American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated January 2013. Accessed May 11, 2016.
Ototoxic medications (medication effects). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 11, 2016.
Ototoxicity. Vestibular Disorders Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 11, 2016.
Last reviewed May 2016 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2016

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000