Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), also called Central Auditory Processing Disorder, is a condition that impairs the ability to process auditory information. The underlying cause is a deficiency in the brain's ability to take in and make sense of sound.
This can affect how you understand and use language, including how well you understand speech, how you learn and process information through listening or reading, and how you behave and interact with others.
What is auditory processing?
The central auditory nervous system is responsible for bringing sound signals to the brain to be processed. A sound must first be processed by the auditory nerve and given a meaning to be understood.
Auditory processing lets humans distinguish between speech sounds, determine where a sound originates in space, and understand speech when background noise occurs.
The message will be distorted and misconstrued if the sound is not processed correctly. This is referred to as Auditory Processing Disorder.
The Most Common APD Symptoms
Auditory processing disorder is typically overlooked since, generally, no hearing loss or signs of neurological diseases are linked with it.
Another challenge in identifying adequate auditory development is that APD symptoms may coincide with specific language impairment, ADHD, developmental dyslexia, or delayed learning.
Here are some of the most common signs of APD:
- Background noise makes listening difficult.
- Poor attention span drifts off during school lessons.
- Difficulty with phonics and speech sound discrimination
- Speech treatment or language impairments
- Poor memory and difficulty sounding out words when reading
- Frequently misunderstanding what is said and requiring that information be repeated
- Language abilities that are not expressive
- Response time to verbal requests and/or directions is slow or delayed
How do we test for auditory processing disorder?
We administer a battery of auditory processing tests to assess if an auditory processing disorder is present.
Along conducting a central auditory processing evaluation, we may gather pertinent information, such as academic records, teacher observation forms, and the like. If it hasn't already been done, the peripheral hearing system and hearing sensitivity will be evaluated.
The evaluation of auditory processing disorder generally takes 1 1/2 to 3 hours. During this period, the patient is given a series of short tests to assess their strengths and weaknesses in various auditory skill areas. The results of each test are then ranked and analyzed.
Following the patient's diagnosis, we'll meet with them (and if the patient is a child, their parent/guardian) to design a suitable intervention and accommodation plan that addresses their professional, academic, and personal needs.
Treating Auditory Processing Disorder
Treatments are available to help patients cope with APD. This could entail auditory training therapy, custom hearing protection, hearing aids, or even using an FM system in the classroom.
If you think you or your child might be suffering from APD, contact us today to set up an evaluation.
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