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Comparative analysis of auditory brainstem response and hearing aid fitting thresholds in auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder Parfett, Alicia


Objectives: In cases of auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD), clinicians may defer amplification until reliable behavioural thresholds can be obtained, as auditory brainstem response (ABR) assessment often overestimates thresholds. Limited research has investigated the correlation between ABR-estimated and behavioural thresholds. This study aims to retrospectively quantify the management practices found in ANSD patients identified through the British Columbia Early Hearing Program (BCEHP). The relationship between ABR and hearing aid (HA) fitting thresholds will be investigated for evidence to support using ABR thresholds to inform early intervention. Methods: BCEHP patient data was obtained for the 28 children diagnosed with ANSD between 2008 and 2015. Information such as clinical demographics and the use of hearing technology was extracted. The age of diagnosis and intervention was reviewed for 1-3-6 month benchmark compliance. ABR and HA fitting threshold data was collected, and comparative analysis was performed. Results: Analysis revealed that the average age of ANSD diagnosis was 7.8 months corrected (range: 1.5 – 69 months), and the average time between diagnosis and amplification was 10 months (SD: 15 months). Comparative analysis revealed that while delaying amplification is appropriate for the majority of ANSD patients, fitting to ABR-estimated thresholds may be suitable in a small subset. Conclusions: HA fitting for ANSD infants is often delayed beyond 6 months of age. Study results suggest that in some cases, ABR thresholds may be sufficient to generate prescriptive targets for amplification. Further research is needed to corroborate these findings and provide support for early intervention based on ABR-thresholds.

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