A child born with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) has difficulty distinguishing one sound from another and understanding speech clearly. Nemours audiologists and other specialists can help kids with ANSD develop strong language and communication skills through the use of medical devices and therapy.
Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) is a broad term that describes any of a variety of problems involving “misfirings” of the auditory (hearing) nerve, or problems affecting the nerve’s connection with the cochlea (inner ear). The result of ANSD is the disordered transmission of sound from the inner ear that makes sound disorganized when it reaches the brain.
The causes of auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder are unknown, but children who are born prematurely or have a family history of the condition are at higher risk for it. Symptoms can develop at any age, but most kids with ANSD are born with it and diagnosed in the first months of life.
Proper diagnosis and early intervention are important, so if you think that your child has any difficulty hearing, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. Children with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder benefit from specialized testing that is often different from what is offered in a newborn hearing screening. As ANSD becomes better understood, it is diagnosed more frequently and now accounts for about 10% to 15% of cases of hearing loss in children.
In some cases, auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder causes only mild hearing difficulties and is only a problem in noisy situations. In the majority of cases, however, it leads to significant hearing loss.