Are you seeing your child have difficulty hearing and understanding things when you speak to them? Do they often ask, “what’d you say?”. Or seem confused when you talk to them? Your child may have auditory processing disorder (APD). Around 5% of school-aged children have some form of auditory processing disorder. It’s impossible to tell if your child has APD without specialized testing by an audiologist. However, there are symptoms you can watch for. We’ll look at what auditory processing disorder is and why it’s difficult to diagnose. Take our brief auditory processing disorder test/quiz for kids below!
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Auditory Processing Disorder
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). APD is a condition where someone’s brain has trouble understanding sounds, even though they can hear just fine. This can make it hard for someone with APD to understand speech, especially in noisy places.
APD affects other auditory tasks, such as following verbal instructions or telling different sounds apart. For example, a child with APD may have a hard time distinguishing between similar-sounding words like ‘snake’ and ‘shake’. This can make it really challenging for them to understand what you ask of them, both at home and at school.
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Unfortunately, these challenges can extend to academic settings as well. Kids with APD may struggle to keep up with classroom instruction, which can impact their ability to learn and retain new information. But with the right support and accommodations, children with APD can still succeed and thrive in the classroom.
Symptoms of APD
Symptoms can vary from person to person. It’s common for people to misunderstand the symptoms of auditory processing disorder. People often mistake them for different conditions like learning disabilities or ADHD. Around 50% of children with ADHD also have APD. Symptoms of APD are a general misunderstanding of speech and include:
- Trouble figuring out where a sound is coming from
- Being easily distracted by sounds
- Difficulty following verbal directions
- Difficulty understanding speech when there’s a lot of background noise
- Trouble listening for an extended period of time
Auditory Processing Disorder Causes
People usually develop APD in early childhood. However, the causes are usually unknown. Some conditions like seizure disorders, meningitis, and chronic ear infections may increase the risk of developing auditory processing disorder. Prolonged exposure to loud noises or trauma to the brain may also cause someone to develop APD.
How Is APD Diagnosed?
An auditory processing disorder (APD) diagnosis comes from a special doctor called an audiologist. They’ll give you a bunch of tests to see how well you can understand and process sounds. The audiologist will check your hearing to make sure there’s no other problem causing the symptoms. They might recommend that you visit your primary care doctor to make sure there’s no underlying condition causing the issues. Take our child auditory processing disorder test/quiz below!
Treatment Options for APD
There are a few different things that can help people with auditory processing disorder (APD). One is doing different exercises to help them understand sounds better. Another is working with a speech therapist to help with language and communication. There are also devices called assistive listening devices that can make sounds clearer. Sometimes in school, teachers can make changes to help the student learn better, like sitting closer to the teacher or using pictures to help explain things. It’s important to remember that everyone is different.
Remember that when it comes to treating auditory processing disorder (APD), there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one may not work for another, which is why it’s so important to work with a professional to find the best plan for you or your child. If you think your child may have APD, there are many options available for treatment.
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The first step is to identify the symptoms and get an accurate diagnosis from an audiologist. Once you have a better understanding of your child’s specific needs, you and the audiologist can work together to develop a treatment plan that may include different therapies or devices, such as hearing aids. By working with a professional and taking a personalized approach to treatment, you can help your child manage their APD symptoms and thrive both academically and socially.
FAQ’s About Auditory Processing Disorder
What is an Auditory Processing Disorder Test? An Auditory Processing Disorder Test is a specialized assessment conducted by an audiologist to determine if a child has difficulty processing auditory information. How is an Auditory Processing Disorder Test performed? The test involves a series of listening tasks, such as identifying slight differences in sounds or understanding speech in noisy environments. Who should consider an Auditory Processing Disorder Test? If your child struggles with understanding spoken language, following directions, or is easily distracted by background noise, they may benefit from this test. What age is appropriate for an Auditory Processing Disorder Test? Most professionals recommend testing for Auditory Processing Disorder from the age of 7 onwards. How can I prepare my child for an Auditory Processing Disorder Test? Ensure your child is well-rested and comfortable before the test. Explain that they will be listening to sounds and answering questions about what they hear.
This post was originally published on 01/30/2023. It was updated on 02/07/2024.