Auditory Processing Disorder, or APD, is a catch-all term for hearing difficulties caused by central processing disorders. In most cases, a person’s ability to hear and understand speech in noise is compromised, even if they have a completely normal audiogram. Signs of APD are auditory attention problems, better understanding in one-on-one situations, difficulties in hearing noise, noise localization and remembering oral information, talking louder than necessary, often needing repetition of instructions or information given, interpreting words too literally, reliance on accommodation and modification strategies, and other similar habits.


Theories for what causes APD include acquired injuries to the processing centres of the brain at birth, genetic issues that cause processing problems, or developmental issues in the auditory processing area of the brain. For example, chronic otitis media (middle ear infections) as a child.


Diagnosis of APD is difficult, because most people with symptoms of it typically have no evidence of neurological disease. Therefore, diagnosis is made on the basis of performance on behavioural auditory tests. The subjective symptoms that lead to an evaluation for APD include an intermittent inability to process verbal information, resulting in the person having to guess to fill in the processing gaps, and problems interpreting speech in noisy environments. With APD, one can hear clearly, but they’re often unable to understand words.

A young boy (presumably with Auditory Processing Disorder) looking at a book, looking frustrated. There are digital images related to school surrounding him, adding to the sensation of feeling overwhelmed.
Frustrated young student.

Helping Children with Auditory Processing Disorder

With children, an audiologist is required for diagnosis (five main problem areas: auditory figure-ground, memory, discrimination, attention, and cohesion), auditory training, fitting of hearing aids, and assistive technology if necessary. A speech-language therapist is required for some assessments and for language therapy. Furthermore, an Education Advisor experienced in special education is required to observe and assess the child in a classroom, and to work with the teacher to develop an education plan and teaching strategies. They will also facilitate the use of remote microphone hearing aids or frequency modulation (FM) systems if needed. And of course, depending on each child’s needs, various other professionals may need to be involved in helping as well.

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Works Cited:

Cooling, G. (n.d.). All About Hearing Loss. Retrieved on July 24, 2019 from

Light, L. (n.d.). Auditory Processing Disorder Seminar [Frustrated young student.]. Retrieved August 13, 2019 from

Morlet, T. (September 2014). Auditory Processing Disorder. Retrieved o July 24, 2019 from

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