An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a deficit in the brain's ability to understand and use sound information correctly; hearing levels are usually within the normal range. Our audiologists specialise in APD assessments and will discuss the results and therapy options with you.
An APD assessment consists of a series of tests, each one designed to assess a specific auditory skill. The pattern of the results of each test allows a profile of strengths and weaknesses to emerge. This is important because the degree and type of auditory processing deficit and individual experiences will determine the most appropriate therapy specific to his or her needs; there is no "one-size-fits-all" treatment for APD.
Auditory Processing is a term used to describe how the brain recognises and interprets sound. APD assessment can be performed on adults and on children over 7 years of age who have normal hearing, but cannot process sound information accurately. It is more common to assess children, many (but not all) of these children experience significant learning difficulties because they are unable to make sense of what they are hearing.
A parent or teacher may suspect APD if a child:
- has difficulty following instructions
- has difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise
- has a short attention span
- has a lower reading or spelling ability
- has difficulty in understanding information presented verbally
- has difficulty learning in background noise or in group environments
- has poorer verbal abilities
- has low self-esteem
- is easily distracted
- behaves as if there is a hearing loss present often asking for repetition or clarification
APD can often be confused with other conditions such as language disorders or higher-order cognitive disorders (eg. Autism, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) as the symptoms and behaviours the child exhibit can be similar. It is important to note that APD is specific to the auditory deficit alone and not the results of any cognitive, language or related disorder. In some cases, however, APD can coexist with these disorders. A careful and accurate assessment is therefore required for proper diagnosis. Our senior audiologists are experienced in performing the audiological assessments to accurately diagnose APD.