We investigated blood lead (B-Pb) and mercury (B-Hg) levels and auditory sensory-neural function in 62 Andean school children living in a Pb-contaminated area of Ecuador and 14 children in a neighboring gold mining area with no known Pb exposure. The median B-Pb level for 62 children in the Pb-exposed group was 52.6 μg/dl (range 9.9-110.0 μg/dl) compared with 6.4 μg/dl (range 3.9-12.0 μg/dl) for the children in the non-Pb exposed group; the differences were statistically significant (p < 0.001). Auditory thresholds for the Pb-exposed group were normal at the pure tone frequencies of 0.25-8 kHz over the entire range of B-Pb levels. Auditory brain stem response tests in seven children with high B-Pb levels showed normal absolute peak and interpeak latencies. The median B-Hg levels were 0.16 μg/dl (range 0.04-0.58 μg/dl) for children in the Pb-exposed group and 0.22 μg/dl (range 0.1-0.44 μg/dl) for children in the non-Pb exposed gold mining area, and showed no significant relationship to auditory function.