To identify any differences in dynamic changes between peripheral and central hearing after perinatal hypoxia-ischemia, we studied 80 term infants during the neonatal period by serially recording brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) at 60 dB normal hearing level. All BAEP wave latencies and the I-V interval increased significantly on day 1 (analysis of variance, all p < .001). Thereafter, the wave I latency decreased gradually with some variation. The wave V latency and the I-V interval increased further on day 3 and then decreased progressively. On day 30, neither the latencies nor the I-V interval differed significantly from those of normal controls, but the wave v latency and the I-V interval still tended to increase slightly. These results suggest that hearing is impaired shortly after hypoxia-ischemia. Peripheral hearing gradually recovers after day 1, whereas central impairment progresses during the first 3 days and then starts to recover. We conclude that peripheral impairment recovers sooner than central impairment after perinatal hypoxia-ischemia.