Auditory Processing Disorder

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Our goal is to evaluate and treat hearing loss focusing on individual needs, so that every person, regardless of age, is given the opportunity to communicate and interact with others to the best of their ability.
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Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a condition that affects the way the brain processes auditory information. People with APD have difficulty understanding spoken language and may also have problems with auditory discrimination, auditory memory, and auditory figure-ground perception. APD can occur in both children and adults and can range from mild to severe. Treatment for APD typically includes auditory training and/or speech-language therapy.

APD can be hard to understand because many of its symptoms are similar to those found in other disorders. This can make it difficult to diagnose. Additionally, APD symptoms can be hidden by or be overlapped with other problems including learning disabilities, speech-language delays, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder

APD can present itself in a variety of ways, depending on the individual. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficulty understanding spoken language, especially when there is background noise
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Poor auditory memory
  • Poor auditory discrimination (trouble telling the difference between similar-sounding words)
  • Trouble with auditory figure-ground perception (trouble hearing a message when there is competing auditory information)
  • Difficulty learning new vocabulary words
  • Difficulty understanding jokes or puns
  • A short attention span for auditory tasks
  • A tendency to daydream or “space out” during auditory tasks
  • Avoidance of auditory tasks
  • Frustration or acting out when auditory tasks are required

If you suspect that you or someone you know has APD, it is important to seek professional help. An audiologist or speech-language pathologist can administer tests to diagnose APD. Once APD is diagnosed, treatment can begin.

Causes of Auditory Processing Disorder

The exact cause of APD is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is more common in males than females and often runs in families. Additionally, certain medical conditions can increase the risk for developing APD including:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Meningitis
  • Head injury
  • Brain tumors

If you have any of these risk factors, it does not mean that you will develop APD. However, it is important to be aware of the potential for developing the disorder.

Treating Auditory Processing Disorder

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for APD. Treatment plans are individualized based on the needs of the person with APD.

Auditory training

Auditory training and/or speech-language therapy are the most common treatments for APD. Auditory training exercises help the individual learn to process auditory information more effectively. This is often done through the use of computer-based programs or specialized listening devices.

Speech-language therapy

Speech-language therapy can help improve communication skills and address any related speech and language delays.

Counseling

Treatment may also include counseling to help the individual (and family) cope with the challenges of APD. APD is a complex disorder, and treatment requires a team approach. In addition to auditory training and/or speech-language therapy, other professionals such as psychologists, counselors, and occupational therapists may be involved in the treatment process.

APD can be a frustrating and difficult disorder to live with, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, most people with APD can improve their auditory processing skills and lead happy, successful lives.

How Is Auditory Processing Disorder Diagnosed?

If you suspect that you or your child has an auditory processing disorder, the first step is to see an audiologist for an evaluation. The audiologist will conduct a series of tests to assess auditory processing skills.

The auditory processing evaluation will often include both auditory and language-based testing. The results of these tests will help to determine if APD is present and, if so, the severity of the disorder.

What Is the Outlook for People With Auditory Processing Disorder?

The outlook for people with auditory processing disorder depends on the severity of the disorder. For mild cases of APD, auditory training and/or speech-language therapy may be all that is needed to improve auditory processing skills. For more severe cases, a comprehensive treatment approach that includes auditory training, speech-language therapy, and counseling may be necessary. In most cases, with proper diagnosis and treatment, people with auditory processing disorder can improve their auditory processing skills and lead happy, successful lives.

Auditory Processing Disorder Among Kids

Auditory processing disorder is a neurological disorder that affects the way the brain processes auditory information. It can occur in children of all ages but is most common in school-age children.

APD can make it difficult for a child to understand and remember auditory information. This can lead to problems in school and with social interactions. APD is often confused with a hearing impairment, but it is important to note that APD is not the same as hearing loss. A child with APD can have normal hearing, but still have difficulty processing auditory information.

Auditory Processing Disorder and ADHD

There is often a lot of overlap between auditory processing disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is not surprising, as both disorders can make it difficult for a child to pay attention and follow directions. In addition, both disorders can cause impulsivity and hyperactivity.

If a child has both APD and ADHD, it is important to treat both disorders. A comprehensive treatment approach that includes auditory training, speech-language therapy, and counseling can help the child manage both disorders and improve their overall functioning.

How to Ease Problem Behaviors Associated with Auditory Processing Disorder

If your child has auditory processing disorder, you may notice some problem behaviors associated with the condition. These can include:

  • Avoidance of noisy places
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Frequent asking for clarification
  • Misinterpreting what is said
  • Problems with reading and/or spelling

While these behaviors can be frustrating, there are some things you can do to help ease them. Some helpful tips include:

  • Provide your child with a quiet place to study or do homework
  • Read aloud to your child on a daily basis
  • Encourage your child to take breaks often when studying or doing homework
  • Use visual aids when possible (e.g., charts, graphs, pictures)
  • Be patient and don’t get frustrated with your child

If you or someone you know has APD, there is help available. With proper diagnosis and treatment, people with APD can improve their communication skills and lead productive lives.

Find the freedom of better hearing.

Our goal is to evaluate and treat hearing loss focusing on individual needs, so that every person, regardless of age, is given the opportunity to communicate and interact with others to the best of their ability.

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