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Can you hear but struggle to understand?

Central Auditory Processing Disorder is not a problem with your hearing, but rather an issue in your brain that makes listening and comprehending more challenging.

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Is it Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?

CAPD is a prime example of why it is crucial to test both the ears and the brain. This disorder is often misdiagnosed as a hearing issue, when you may just have difficulty differentiating between words that sound similar. You may also relate to these symptoms:

  • Normal hearing test results, but the issues persist
  • Difficulty following quick conversations
  • Difficulty learning songs
  • Problems reading, spelling, and learning
  • Distracted by background noises
  • Constantly asking people to repeat themselves

Diagnosing & Treating CAPD

1. Meet with an audiologist

Everything starts with us simply sitting down with you and discussing the issues you’re experiencing.

2. Real-world testing

We’ll place you in a real-world environment to test both your ears and your brain, giving us a deeper look into whether or not you have CAPD.

3. Customized treatment plan

After reviewing your comprehensive report, we will create a plan moving forward that includes new strategies and training to help you get back to where you want to be.

Questions about  Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Can people with Auditory Processing Disorder hear?

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is quite a tricky hearing disorder. People diagnosed with APD can hear. 

But, they have a hard time hearing small differences in words. For example, someone says “Please look that way,” but the person with auditory processing disorder may hear it as “Please look away.”

Or you tell your child, “Please fix your chair,” and they may hear “Please fix your hair.” They may be small differences but they could mean A LOT.

Adults with auditory processing disorder have a hard time understanding and interpreting the world around them not because they can’t hear properly, but because of the way their brains process sound.

What is auditory processing disorder?

Before going through all the technical terms – we feel like we need to tell you what IT IS NOT for better understanding.

Auditory processing disorder is NOT hearing loss and it is also NOT a learning disorder.

The brain of a person with auditory processing disorders has issues in “hearing” in the normal way. Auditory processing disorder has no issues in understanding meaning. 

The challenges that come with auditory processing disorder are not related to hearing. People with APD can hear the sounds others make when talking. The issue lies in the processing and making sense of the sounds received in the brain.

Who is at risk for Auditory Processing Disorder?

Anyone across the age spectrum can have auditory processing disorder. It usually manifests in childhood, but there are also a solid number of cases where people develop auditory processing disorder later in life.

Little boys are more likely to develop auditory processing disorder than girls. For young children with APD, it may cause some learning delays, so it’s highly recommended that parents or caregivers identify this issue right away. The earlier the intervention or therapy, the better.

Auditory Processing Disorder and Dyslexia

Auditory processing disorder may also be linked to other disorders with similar symptoms. 

A lot of studies have linked auditory processing disorder to dyslexia. Some experts also link ADHD to auditory processing disorder.

Auditory Processing Disorder: What are the Signs and Symptoms?

APD may affect the way a child speaks along with their ability to write, spell or read. A child with auditory processing disorder may mix up similar sounds or drop the ends of words and mistake them for another word.

People diagnosed with auditory processing disorder may also struggle interacting with people. Why? Because they may not be able to process (quickly) what others are saying. In short, APD may make it hard to keep up with conversations.

You need to have yourself checked and establish if you have auditory processing disorder if you are having a hard time:

  • Following conversations
  • Identifying where a sound came from
  • Listening to music
  • Remembering verbal instructions, especially with multiple steps
  • Understanding what people say, especially loud places or if you are in a group with several people talking at once

What Causes Auditory Processing Disorder?

As of writing, there are still no known causes of auditory processing disorder. However, medical experts are getting warmer, identifying some links that may cause APD such as:

Specific illnesses – auditory processing disorder is more likely to happen to a person who has chronic ear infections, lead poisoning or meningitis. People with issues in the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis are also prone to develop auditory processing disorders.

 • Head injury

 • Premature birth or low birth weight

 • Genes – If you someone in your family is diagnosed with auditory processing disorder, your chances of developing it is higher than other people.

How Is Auditory Processing Disorder Diagnosed?

A doctor can use a hearing test to check if the communication issues are caused by hearing loss. However, only an audiologist can diagnose auditory processing disorder. 

An audiologist will perform a series of advanced hearing tests where a patient will have to listen to different sounds and respond accordingly when they hear them. The response may either be repeating the heard sound or pushing a button. Painless electrodes may also be attached to the ears to measure how the brain reacts to sound.

APD hearing tests are not given to children 7 years and below. This is because the response of very young children may not be accurate.

What do audiologists look for when diagnosing Auditory Processing Disorder?

The problems below are usually applied to children, but may still be applicable to adults with auditory processing disorder.

Auditory figure-ground problems: This manifests when a child can’t seem to pay attention when there’s significant noise in the background. For a child with APD, loosely structured classrooms can be very aggravating.

Auditory memory problems: A child may struggle memorizing or remembering information that includes lists, study materials or directions. 

Auditory discrimination problems: This is the most common APD issue, in both kids and adults. A person with auditory processing disorder may have trouble hearing and differentiating similar words or sounds. Coat may be heard as boat; chair may be heard as share. This predicament may affect reading, spelling and writing skills.

Auditory attention problems: APD may trigger concentration problems because a child may have a hard time staying focused while listening to the lesson. Kids diagnosed with auditory processing disorder have higher chances of not being able to give their full attention in class, although we also have to acknowledge that motivation, health and attitude also play a role.

Auditory cohesion problems: Higher-level listening tasks may pose to be a struggle for people with APD. Comprehending verbal math problems, solving riddles, or drawing assumptions from conversations fall under auditory cohesion skills, which may become affected with APD.

If you are in Osseo, MN and are looking for a trusted hearing clinic with years of experience to diagnose or manage auditory processing disorder, our audiologists at Hearing Health Clinic are ready to be at your service.

Auditory Processing Disorder: What are the Treatments and Interventions?

There’s no specific cure for auditory processing disorder. Treatments and interventions are specific to each individual.

APD treatments and intervention usually focuses on the following areas:

Classroom support: Electronic devices or a frequency modulation (FM) system can help children with auditory processing disorder hear the teacher more clearly. Teachers can also take part in APD intervention for children – such as seating them at the front of the class and minimizing background noise.

Therapy: Speech therapy can help a person with auditory processing disorder improve conversational skills by being able to recognize sounds easily.

Boosting other skills: Problem solving, memorizing, public speaking – these learning skills, among others, can help both children and adults win over APD.

Auditory Processing Disorder in Kids

About 5% of school-aged children are diagnosed with auditory processing disorder. This condition poses some issues with learning because children have a hard time processing what they hear compared to how other kids do.

With auditory processing disorder, the ears and the brain are not fully coordinated. They are able to pick up sounds but along the way to the brain, something interferes, causing changes in what they hear.

How do you teach a child with auditory processing disorder?

With the right intervention and therapy, kids with auditory processing disorder can succeed in school and life overall.

The most important thing, and we cannot stress this further, is early diagnosis. If auditory processing disorder isn’t noticed and treated early on, a child may experience speech and language delays which could lead to a whole case of learning problems at school.

Auditory Processing Disorder in Adults

Although most adults with auditory processing disorder are diagnosed in either childhood or adolescence, undetected and untreated symptoms could be the reason behind difficulties in communication and comprehension.

Patients with auditory processing disorder describe the world as garbled or distorted. We’re not going to sugarcoat it, having APD makes understanding and interpreting verbal information difficult.

Auditory processing in adults may show in poor reading comprehension, poor listening skills or miscommunication. This usually leads to issues with co-workers, family, friends and loved ones.

In short, APD can put a strain on your relationships. Living with auditory processing disorder may seem like you are trying to have a Zoom call but the Wi-Fi signal keeps going on and off.

What can be done for auditory processing disorder in adults?

There are numerous treatments or interventions for auditory processing disorder. It’s rarely just focused on one treatment – audiologists may combine one or more treatments for faster improvement.

Some treatments for auditory processing disorder may include environment modification and teaching skills to compensate for the condition. Working closely with an audiologist is also proven to improve the auditory deficit aspect of APD.

Living With Auditory Processing Disorder

An adult with APD may constantly say “What?” or “Huh?” than the average person. Adults with auditory processing disorder may also experience the ff.:

Listening to media (TV, cellphone, tablet) at full volume but still having difficulty understanding.

Not being to deliver tasks or commands properly (at home or in the office)

You have a problem remembering people’s names even if they were just introduced to you.

You have a hard time following the conversation when you are at a bar or party with friends.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms above, or you notice a friend or family member exhibiting these symptoms, it’s time to consider consulting an audiologist for a formal assessment.

Hearing Health Care is one of the top hearing clinics in Osseo, MN that handles auditory processing disorders, among other hearing-related services.