Cortical development is dependent to a large extent on stimulus-driven input. Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD) is a recently described form of hearing impairment where neural dys-synchrony is the predominant characteristic. Children with ANSD provide a unique platform to examine the effects of asynchronous and degraded afferent stimulation on cortical auditory neuroplasticity and behavioral processing of sound. In this review, we describe patterns of auditory cortical maturation in children with ANSD. The disruption of cortical maturation that leads to these various patterns includes high levels of intra-individual cortical variability and deficits in cortical phase synchronization of oscillatory neural responses. These neurodevelopmental changes, which are constrained by sensitive periods for central auditory maturation, are correlated with behavioral outcomes for children with ANSD. Overall, we hypothesize that patterns of cortical development in children with ANSD appear to be markers of the severity of the underlying neural dys-synchrony, providing prognostic indicators of success of clinical intervention with amplification and/or electrical stimulation.
This article is part of a Special Issue entitled