Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Auditory Neuropathy

Background

Auditory neuropathy/auditory dyssynchrony (AN/AD) is a condition that affects the neural processing of auditory stimuli. Patients with this disorder are able to respond to sounds appropriately, but their ability to decode speech and language is hindered. AN/AD has only recently been described. In the late 1970s, clinical investigators began to describe groups of patients with normal or slightly elevated audiogram pure tone thresholds accompanied with absent or severely abnormal auditory brainstem responses (ABRs). With the advent of the otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) in the mid 1980s, these groups of patients were found to have normal cochlear function.

The finding of normal cochlear function accompanied with abnormal brainstem responses was defined in 1996 as auditory neuropathy (AN). Whether this represents a true auditory nerve neuropathy is debatable. Further investigations led to the conclusion that AN may truly represent a dyssynchronous auditory nerve rather than a neuropathy. This finding gave rise to the newer term of auditory dyssynchrony (AD).
For the purposes of this summary, AN and AD are considered synonymous (ie, AN/AD).

See the image below.

Anatomy of the external and middle ear.

Anatomy of the external and middle ear.

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