Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) covers a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory (audio) information. This means that even though the person may be able to hear very soft sounds they have difficulty making use of what they hear. This problem is particularly noticeable when it is not a good listening environment, for example when there is a lot of background noise. A child may have difficulty making sense of what the teacher is saying in a noisy classroom.
APD can affect both adults and children. It is estimated that 3-5% of all children have APD. It is found twice as often in boys than in girls.
We know that we tend to see the problem when children enter school. Often children don’t realise what the problem is. They know that they’re not performing like their peers. They become very fatigued from trying to listen all the time, and wonder what is wrong and become quite withdrawn.
Symptoms of APD can range from mild to severe and can take many different forms. If you think your child might have a problem processing sounds, consider these questions:
- Is your child easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises?
- Are noisy environments upsetting to your child?
- Does your child’s behavior and performance improve in quieter settings?
- Does your child have difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated?
- Does your child have reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties?
- Is abstract information difficult for your child to comprehend?
- Are verbal (word) math problems difficult for your child?
- Is your child disorganized and forgetful?
- Are conversations hard for your child to follow?
If the disorder remains untreated or unmanaged; APD can interfere with learning at school. APD is most common in children with a history of prolonged otitis media (or glue ear).
At Falls of Sound, we will perform a full hearing assessment and Auditory Processing Test with the Listening in Spatialized Noise – Sentences test (LiSN-S) to assess the disorder.
Falls of Sound can offer specific auditory training in an attempt to train the brain to be able to use the different directions of arrival of the wanted and unwanted sounds.