Cardinal Hill Rehab Center/Easter Seals of Louisville - Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
How is APD Treated?
There are several different ways to treat APD. The exact procedure or approaches used will depend upon a number of factors, including the exact nature of the APD, the age of the person, the existence of other problems and the availability of resources.
In general, the approaches to APD management fall into three main categories: (1) enhancing auditory perceptual skills (speech/language therapy), (2) enhancing the individual’s language and cognitive resources (also through therapy) and (3) improving the quality of the auditory signal through the use of devices and/or some environmental modifications.
If you have questions about APD, please call our doctor of audiology. We are pleased to provide comprehensive services, including those for the diagnosis and treatment of APD.
Auditory Processing Disorders: When What You Hear Does Not Make Sense
Facts About Your Hearing
What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Have you ever visited a foreign country and struggled to understand what the locals were saying when you don’t fully understand the language? Have you ever listened to a set of directions, only to find yourself lost because you missed a step? If so, then you have some idea of what life is like for children (and adults) with auditory processing difficulties. They are able to hear normally, but somewhere between the ear and the brain, something happens and the information gets lost, distorted or otherwise mishandled in the brain or nervous system.
An auditory processing disorder (APD) interferes with an individual’s ability to analyze or make sense of information taken in through the ears. This is different from problems involving hearing per se, such as deafness or being hard of hearing. Difficulties with auditory processing do not affect what is heard by the ear, but do affect how this information is interpreted or processed by the brain.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder?
The signs and symptoms of APD are varied. There are some common features:
- Difficulty learning to speak
- Problems understanding spoken language
- Trouble separating meaningful sounds from background noise
- Unable to remember stories or songs
- Difficulty staying focused on a person’s voice
- Unusual sensitivity to noise
- Frequently confusing similar sounding words
- Difficulty in understanding speech
- Problems remembering and following spoken directions
- Say “huh” or “what” often
- Trouble remembering people’s names
- Difficulty sounding out new words
- Difficulty learning to read and spell
- Seeming to ignore others when engrossed in a non-speaking activity
- Difficulty understanding people who speak quickly
- Problems finding the right words to use when talking
Teenagers and Adults
- Often interpret words too literally
- Difficulty remembering a list or sequence
- Often needs words or sentences repeated
- Poor ability to memorize information learned by listening
- Difficulty hearing clearly in noisy environments even though hearing is normal
What Causes APD?
To be honest, nobody knows for sure what causes APD in every case. APD may be genetic (having a tendency to occur in families). It may be congenital (a child may have undergone some stress of difficulty during pregnancy that induced APD). APD can also relate to deprivation. Children who are not adequately exposed to all the speech sounds and listening experiences that are typically encountered by young infants and young children may not develop the same listening skills and abilities. This may occur as a result of a social condition (such as neglect) or a medical condition such as frequent middle ear problems. Adults who experience a brain injury, tumor or disease such as Multiple Sclerosis may also develop APD. In many cases, we simply do not know what causes APD.
How is APD Diagnosed?
APD is diagnosed through the use of special tests designed to assess the various auditory functions of the brain. However, before this type of testing begins, it is important that each person receive a complete hearing test to rule out any underlying hearing deficits.
Testing is completed by an audiologist and sometimes by a speech-language-pathologist. Testing typically takes from one to three hours to complete and may need to be conducted over the course of several sessions.