What is Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder?

Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) is a hearing disorder in which sound enters the inner ear normally but the transmission of signals from the inner ear to the brain is impaired. It can affect people of all ages, from infancy through adulthood. The number of people affected by auditory neuropathy is not known, but the condition affects a relatively small percentage of people who have hearing loss.

People with ANSD may detect sound at normal levels, or have a hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. What makes this hearing disorder challenging is the individuals have trouble understanding speech clearly, despite having the ability to detect it. In other words, speech perception ability is worse than would be predicted by the degree of hearing loss. For example, a person with ANSD may be able to hear sounds, but would still have difficulty recognizing spoken words.