Auditory Processing Disorder: What is it?

Children Speakin

Auditory Processing Disorder (also known as ‘Central Auditory Processing Disorder’) is the inability to process sound. People who have Auditory Processing Disorder (or APD) often have hearing that is not impaired and are in actual fact able to hear messages clearly.

It is a difficulty with the processing of the verbal message or auditory decoding of language that people with APD present with. A child with APD may only understand a portion of an instruction within a noisy classroom or home environment. Symptoms of APD may present in early childhood or once a child commences primary school. A child may seem more affected when they are in a noisy environment with lots of background noise or when asked to follow an instruction of increased length and complexity.

What are some of the symptoms of APD?

A child with Auditory Processing Disorder may present with some of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Difficulty listening and paying attention, particularly in noisy environments
  • Delayed receptive and expressive language development
  • Often ask for repetition of questions and seek clarification
  • Require instructions to be broken down into small phrases
  • Perceived as a poor listener
  • Difficulty discriminating between similar sounding speech sounds (e.g. ‘p’ and ‘b’).
  • Poor phonemic awareness
  • Easily distracted by background noise
  • Difficulty following long conversations
  • Difficulty remembering verbal information.

Diagnosis and treatment

Auditory Processing Disorder can be diagnosed in children aged seven years or above by an audiologist. The audiologist may also screen the child’s hearing if it has not been done previously to rule out any physical hearing problems. APD can be tested by completing a number of tests in a sound-treated room to assess the areas of the brain responsible for auditory functions. Once testing has been administered, your child’s health care professional will be able to make a sound diagnosis and judge whether your child is experiencing one of the different types of APD.

Treatment for children with APD can be conducted by an audiologist or a speech therapist. To seek further information or to arrange an appointment with one of our speech pathologists in Bentleigh, please contact at Kids At Max on (03) 9702 4447.

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