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What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Auditory processing disorder (APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information. Individuals with APD usually have normal structure and function of the outer, middle and inner ear (peripheral hearing). However, they cannot process the information they hear in the same way as others do, which leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds, especially the sounds composing speech.
These difficulties arise from dysfunction in the central nervous system (i.e., brain). APD has been referred to as dyslexia for the ears.
APD does not feature in mainstream diagnostic classifications such as the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-
APD can affect both children and adults, although the actual prevalence is currently unknown. It has been suggested that males are twice as likely to be affected by the disorder as females, but there are no good epidemiological studies.
Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder:
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders state that children with Auditory Processing Disorder often:
APD can manifest as:
For APD, fewer words may be perceived than were actually said, as there can be problems detecting the gaps between words, creating the sense that someone is speaking unfamiliar or nonsense words.
Those suffering from APD may have problems relating what has been said with its meaning, despite obvious recognition that a word has been said, as well as repetition of the word. Background noise, such as the sound of a radio, television or a noisy bar can make it difficult to impossible to understand speech, since spoken words may sound distorted either into irrelevant words or words that don't exist, depending on the severity of the auditory processing disorder.
Using a telephone can be problematic for someone with auditory processing disorder, in comparison with someone with normal auditory processing, due to low quality audio, poor signal, intermittent sounds and the chopping of words. Many who have auditory processing disorder subconsciously develop visual coping strategies, such as lip reading, reading body language, and eye contact, to compensate for their auditory deficit, and these coping strategies are not available when using a telephone.
As noted above, the status of APD as a distinct disorder has been queried, especially
Diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder:
APD is a difficult disorder to detect and diagnose. The subjective symptoms that lead to an evaluation for APD include an intermittent inability to process verbal information, leading the person to guess to fill in the processing gaps. There may also be disproportionate problems with decoding speech in noisy environments.
APD has been defined anatomically in terms of the integrity of the auditory areas of the nervous system. However, children with symptoms of APD typically have no evidence of neurological disease and the diagnosis is made on the basis of performance on behavioral auditory tests. Auditory processing is "what we do with what we hear", and in APD there is a mismatch between peripheral hearing ability (which is typically normal) and ability to interpret or discriminate sounds. Thus in those with no signs of neurological impairment, APD is diagnosed on the basis of auditory tests.
There is, however, no consensus as to which tests should be used for diagnosis, as evidenced by the succession of task force reports that have appeared in recent years. The first of these occurred in 1996. This was followed by a conference organized by the American Academy of Audiology. Experts attempting to define diagnostic criteria have to grapple with the problem that a child may do poorly on an auditory test for reasons other than poor auditory perception: for instance, failure could be due to inattention, difficulty in coping with task demands, or limited language ability.
In an attempt to rule out at least some of these factors, the American Academy of
Audiology conference explicitly advocated that for APD to be diagnosed, the child
must have a modality-
The issue of modality-
It is also impractical, as audiologists do not have access to standardized tests
that are visual analogs of auditory tests. The debate over this issue remains unresolved.
It is clear, however, that a modality-
Another controversy concerns the fact that most traditional tests of APD use verbal
materials. The British Society of Audiology has embraced Moore's (2006) recommendation
that tests for APD should assess processing of non-
In recent years there have been additional criticisms of some popular tests for diagnosis
of APD. Tests that use tape-
Depending on how it is defined, APD may share common symptoms with ADD/ADHD, Specific
language impairment, Asperger syndrome and other forms of autism. A review showed
substantial evidence for atypical processing of auditory information in autistic
children. Dawes and Bishop noted how specialists in audiology and speech-
Brain Mapping -
Brain Mapping (QEEG) is a safe and non-
Careful analysis of these brains waves (EEG) can reveal information on how one is using his/her brain. It can also tell us the maturity of different parts of the brain. It is often used to investigate if there are any hidden seizures.
Auditory Processing Disorder
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Finding the Causes
Most clinicians do not bother about the causes as diagnosis is based on behavioral symptoms …
At Spectrum Learning, we have been investigating the possible causes …
Conventional Tests and Assessments
We provide :