Cochlear implantation of auditory neuropathy

J Am Acad Audiol. 2000 Jun;11(6):309-15.


Auditory neuropathy (AN) is a hearing disorder that presents with a grossly abnormal or absent neural response as measured by evoked potentials in the presence of normal outer hair cell function evidenced by present otoacoustic emissions or cochlear microphonics. Rehabilitation for patients with AN is challenging due to abnormal temporal encoding at the auditory nerve leading to severely impaired speech perception. Although patients with AN may demonstrate improvement in thresholds with amplification, temporal encoding dysfunction, and consequently speech perception degradation, is not alleviated by amplification. Another issue is the heterogeneity of the AN population in terms of audiologic and neurologic findings, in addition to uncertain etiology and pathophysiology. For children with prelingual onset of AN, development of auditory and oral communication skills is particularly compromised. All children with hearing loss in the severe-to-profound range who do not benefit from conventional amplification can be considered candidates for a cochlear implant (CI). This paper presents a case study of a child with AN who received a CI. Whereas no synchronous neural response auditory brainstem response could be elicited to acoustic stimuli, an electrically evoked auditory nerve action potential was evident following implantation, suggesting restoration to some degree of neural synchrony. Significant improvement in speech perception was found post-CI. Recommendation to implant all patients with AN would be premature, but these findings suggest that electrical stimulation in some cases of auditory neuropathy can be a viable option.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cochlea / physiopathology
  • Cochlear Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Speech Perception / physiology
  • Time Factors