“It’s such a relief to understand my hearing problem and have experts to help me solve it.”
One of the most important functions of an audiologist is to perform tests that assess a patient’s ability to process sound. In the simplest terms, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) may be defined as a listening problem, not a hearing loss problem. People with APD hear words and sounds just fine; however, the brain is not able to process the information it receives accurately or quickly enough.
APD can occur on its own, or may be related to autism spectrum disorder, non-verbal learning disabilities, dyslexia, delayed language problems, and other health challenges.
Signs of APD
People who are experiencing APD may:
- Behave as if they have a hearing loss even when their abilities are normal
- Have poor reading and spelling skills despite high intelligence
- Be easily distracted by background and ambient noise
- Have trouble following directions, whether they are simple or complex
- Ask people to repeat themselves frequently
- Seem confused by what is expected of them, or
- React negatively to loud sounds.
Diagnosis of APD
Your audiologist will conduct a series of tests to determine the cause of your APD and to identify an appropriate course of treatment. These hearing tests evaluate:
- Peripheral auditory system
- Binaural integration and separation
- Temporal patterning
- Auditory closure
- Auditory figure-ground discrimination
- Binaural interaction, and
- Language processing assessment.
In some instances, particularly with school-age children, a speech and language assessment by a speech language pathologist and a psycho-educational assessment by an educational psychologist/consultant may be indicated.
There is no single treatment of APD. A treatment program must be tailored to meet the specific needs and types of the patient’s disorder so that the audiologist may:
- Improve access and interpretation of incoming auditory and verbal information
- Address deficit areas directly
- Learn how to maximize the use of auditory information
- Deficit-specific, formal and informal auditory training
- Frequency Modulated (FM) Systems
- Computer-assisted therapy such as Fast ForWord and Earobics
- Environmental modification
- Training of compensatory skills
- Language processing training, and
- Speech and language therapy.
Audio Processing Treatment Disorder testing by competent audiologists is a painless procedure and provides critical information that can be used to help patients function at their highest potential at work, school, and play.