This topic provides information about Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).
What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), previously called Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), has been in debate by clincians and scientists for many years. There is no consensus as to a clear definition of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD). There is some agreement on a few points of APD.
- There is a neurological basis
- The ability to receive, remember, and/or understand spoken language is impaired even when hearing ability is normal
There was a lot of early debate about whether APD actually exists. In 1996, the American Speech-Language Hearing Associations (ASHA) Task Force on Central Auditory Processing Consensus Development defined central auditory processes as “the auditory system mechanisms and functions responsible for the following behavioral phenomena:
- Sound localization and lateralization
- Auditory discrimination
- Auditory pattern recognition
- Temporal aspects of audition
- Auditory performance decrements with competing acoustic signals
- Auditory performance decrements with degraded acoustic signals
They defined Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) as “an observed deficiency in one or more of the above-listed behaviors.”
In 2000, a group of 14 scientists and clinicians changed the name from CAPD to Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and defined it as “a deficit in the processing of information that is specific to the auditory modality.”
In general, APD is an inability to process spoken language.
What Causes Auditory Processing Disorder?
There is no known cause of Auditory Processing Disoder. There have been links to head trauma. It has also been associated with other conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), language or developmental delay.
APD affects about 5% of school-aged children. It is more common in school-aged males than females. It is unknown whether children are born with APD or whether is develops after birth.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder will vary greatly from person to person. Some of the most common signs of APD include:
- Difficulty understanding in noisy environments
- Problems following directions
- Easily distracted, especially in background noise
- Difficulty remembering spoken information
- Slow or delayed responses to spoken questions
- Constantly asking for repetition of speech
- Difficulty hearing the differences between sounds
- Poor reading comprehension
- Poor spelling
- Misinterpretation of questions
How is Auditory Processing Disorder diagnosed?
Diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder is done by an Audiologist specifically trained in APD. They will perform a series of listening tests with the child designed to stress the auditory system. However, a multidisciplinary approach is often needed, including evaluation from a Psychologist, Speech-Language Pathologist, and input from the teacher. These professionals will work together to determine the best outcome for the child.
How is it treated?
Treatment for Auditory Processing Disorder is highly individualized for each person, depending on which of the auditory deficits they experience. Treatment for APD involves specific therapy and training exercises to improve auditory processing skills.
Does Auditory Processing Disorder cause lasting problems?
Auditory Processing Disorder can result in poor academic performance if not managed appropriately. It can be a frustrating disorder that can often be misdiagnosed as ADD, ADHD, or behavioral problems.