Auditory Neuropathy Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
What is auditory neuropathy?
Auditory neuropathy, also referred to as auditory dyssynchrony (AD) is similar to sensorineural hearing loss. Patients suffering from auditory neuropathy have functioning hair cells on the cochlea, but these cells do not properly send sound information to the auditory nerve and brain.
What causes auditory neuropathy?
It is not fully understood why auditory neuropathy occurs, but scientists believe the condition stems from multiple causes. It may occur due to any of the following situations:
- Damage to inner hair cells
- Faulty connections between inner hair cells and nerves
- Nerve damage in the inner ear
What are auditory neuropathy symptoms?
Symptoms of auditory neuropathy can include any of the following:
- Hearing loss ranging from mild to severe
- Fading of sounds in and out
- Poor speech perception
- Inability to perceive speech in noisy environments
- Inconsistent ability to understand speech or hear sounds
What are the risk factors for auditory neuropathy?
There are several factors that may have a link with auditory neuropathy, including:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Inadequate supply of oxygen during birth
- Genetic factors
- Certain neurological disorders
How is auditory neuropathy diagnosed?
Ear, nose and throat specialists can diagnose auditory neuropathy with auditory brainstem response (ABR) and optoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing. When these tests are done in conjunction, doctors can determine whether auditory neuropathy is the cause for the hearing impairment. During an ABR test, doctors are able to see brain wave activity in response to sound, using electrodes placed on the patient’s head and ears. An OAE test has a very small, sensitive microphone that monitors the faint sounds produced by cochlea hair cells. When patients display abnormal ABR test results paired with normal OAE results, it signals doctors that they may have auditory neuropathy.
What are auditory neuropathy treatments?
Depending on the underlying cause, audio neuropathy may be reversible. However, in some cases, the underlying cause of hearing loss prevents the condition from improving. Treatments that may be recommended by New York ENT doctors include:
- Hearing aid
- Cochlear implants
- Frequency modulation (FM) systems
Other hearing loss treatments may be recommended by New York ENT, depending on the cause for hearing loss.
If you are suffering from auditory neuropathy, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience with the diagnosis and treatment for neuropathy. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.