Auditory Processing

Private Speech Pathologists Association of WA

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), is a disorder that can affect the ability to process and understand auditory information, despite having normal hearing. APD is a general term that describes a variety of problems that can interfere with processing sounds.

What are the Effects of Auditory Processing Disorder?

It affects different people in differing ways and to varying degrees. APD may result in similar sounds and words being confused, difficulty understanding sounds in a noisy environment (classroom or workplace) or trouble following instructions when language is long or complicated. APD can occur at the same time as other developmental disorders.

Children may have difficulty following instructions, sequencing ideas and remembering information. They may be easily distracted, become tired quickly and lose concentration. They may have difficulties with literacy, such as learning sounds and sounding out skills. Adults may experience difficulty in following long or complicated instructions or in remembering information. This can impact on tertiary studies, the workplace and social situations.

What are the Causes of APD?

APD can be present from birth or can be an acquired disorder as a result of head injury or chronic ear infections. It may also be inherited or have a genetic cause, but at this stage the underlying cause is largely unknown.

Who Diagnoses APD?

The possible symptoms of APD are often identified by a number of professionals working with a child or adult. This may include a Speech Pathologist, Teacher or Psychologist. The diagnosis is, however, made by an Audiologist who will administer a series of diagnostic tests that determine whether a client has APD. As a child’s auditory system is still continuing to mature up until the age of 12, many clinics do not commence APD testing until the child is at least 7 years of age. Some tests, however, can be administered from the age of 5.

What is the Speech Pathologist’s role?

As a language disorder may occur along with APD, it is important for this possibility to be investigated. Speech Pathologists provide assessment as well as individual and classroom intervention strategies to assist students to reach their potential. They can describe how well a child or adult understands and uses language and speech. They work with audiologists, teachers, workplace staff and other significant adults in a person’s environment.