Auditory neuropathy is a hearing disorder in which the inner ear successfully detects sound, but has a problem with sending sound from the ear to the brain. It can affect people of all ages, from infancy through adulthood. The number of people affected by auditory neuropathy is not known, but current information suggests that auditory neuropathies play a substantial role in hearing impairments and deafness.

When their hearing sensitivity is tested, people with auditory neuropathy may have normal hearing or hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. They always have poor speech-perception abilities, meaning that they have trouble understanding speech clearly. People with auditory neuropathy have greater impairment in speech perception than hearing health experts would predict based upon their degree of hearing loss on a hearing test. For example, a person with auditory neuropathy may be able to hear sounds, but would still have difficulty recognizing spoken words. Sounds may fade in and out or seem out of sync for these individuals.