Auditory Processing is “what our brain does with what the ear hears” (Jack Katz).
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a difficulty in processing what you hear, and it can be detected / diagnosed in adults and children older than 8.
APD is different from deafness. A person could have normal hearing and difficulty understanding what is being said.
Even adults diagnosed with APD who have probably found ways to compensate somewhat for their difficulties can still benefit from APD treatment.
SIGNS OF APD:
- can’t follow a conversation with more than one person talking at the same time
- can't understand jokes or double meaning
- inattentive and easily distracted
- doesn’t answer promptly when called or has to be called several times before they do
- delivers mixed up messages or gets events and words mixed up when telling a story or a joke
- ‘mirrored’ writing or gets letters/sounds mixed up (e.g. ‘pall’ instead of ball)
- bad handwriting
- difficulty with right and left
- memory problems
- child who is very active or very quiet
- difficulty making friends with children from their own age-group
- difficulties at school (English and/or Irish and/or Mathematics)
- difficulty learning how to read/write
- can’t understand/interpret what they read
NOTE: THESE SYMPTOMS MAY BE PRESENT IN OTHER PATHOLOGIES THAN APD
What to Do?
If you or your child are experiencing a number of these symptoms, it is recommended that a complete Hearing Assessment including tests that assess the Auditory Processing with a specialist Audiologist is carried out.
There are different skills involved in processing what you hear.
Different tests are carried out to identify which of these require attention.
The APD treatment should be multidisciplinary, including professionals such as Speech & Language Therapists and Psychologists.
Once the skills that need attention have been identified, the audiologist or speech therapist will work with the patient to strengthen these processes.
For example, were a person to have difficulty processing speech in background noise, appropriate activities can help them develop strategies to deal with or overcome their difficulty.
If the patient is a child, as well as working with the audiologist, parents will be asked to perform exercises with them at home.
- Significant language, learning or communication difficulties
- Moderate, severe or profound hearing loss
- Attention Deficit, AD/HD or other attention problems
- Psychiatric disorders such as autism, anxiety or depression
- Difficulty remembering routine tasks as well as new instructions
- Difficulties with critical and abstract thinking
NOTE: Except for hearing loss, the symptoms listed above could accompany APD but they are not APD.
For more information on APD, click here to see our leaflet.