Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder can be defined as difficulties in the perceptual processing of auditory information by the Central Nervous System.

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What is Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?

Auditory Processing Disorder can be defined as difficulties in the perceptual processing of auditory information by the Central Nervous System. Put simply APD is a deficit in the neural processing of auditory information.   The child has normal hearing but experinces difficulty in discriminating, processing and understanding sound signals.  Difficulties discriminating between speech and noise /sounds is a common experience for the child with APD. Auditory processing disorder can often go undetected but can significantly impact a child’s ability to cope with the language requirements of a classroom and to develop essential reading and writing skills.  Typically a child with APD copes well in  a one to one context but experiences difficulty in large classroom environments.

Signs of Auditory Processing Disorder

APD/CAPD can even impact the child’s ability to socialize and follow conversations. Typically a person with Auditory Processing Disorder may experience difficulties in the following:

Children with CAPD may exhibit:

  • Short attention span
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Easy distraction
  • May be noise sensitive or reactive to loud noises eg. Vacuum cleaner
  • May be overwhelmed by very noisy environments

School-aged children with CAPD may exhibit:

  • Difficulty following complex verbal directions
  • Spelling and reading difficulties
  • Language delay / disorder
  • Poor sound / phonological awareness needed for literacy skills (reading and writing)
  • Difficulty maintaining attention to auditory information
  • Frustration and distractibility
  • Difficulty with sound localization
  • Difficulty following the flow of discussions
  • Difficulty listening / comprehending when there is background noise
  • Difficulties with short term auditory memory

Facts about Auditory Processing Disorder

  • Boys are 3 times more likely to have auditory processing disorder than girls
  • Almost 75% of children with APD have had a speech or language difficulties
  • Children with APD often have a history of middle ear infections (otitis media)
  • A child with Auditory Processing Disorder does not have an intellectual or cognitive problem

What to do?

Consult an audiologist or speech pathologist in your area. An Audiologist can only conclusively diagnose Auditory Processing Disorder however Speech Pathologists do have an important role in supporting diagnosis and some forms on intervention particularly relating to language processing and literacy.

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The review "Auditory Processing Disorder" was last updated on 09/07/2015.