Auditory processing disorder and hearing loss are often confused, but there is a key difference: hearing loss means having trouble hearing, whereas auditory processing disorder means being able to hear but not necessarily understand. Being familiar with the signs of auditory processing disorder can ensure you seek help for your child right away.
What Is Auditory Processing Disorder?
People with auditory processing disorder (APD) have difficulty:
- Listening in an area with a lot of background noise.
- Figuring out where sounds are coming from.
- Following directions with multiple steps.
- Participating in conversations.
- Concentrating on a task.
- Appreciating music.
APD affects between 3% and 5% of school-aged children. While it’s most common in kids, it can affect adults as well.
Causes of Auditory Processing Disorder
In many cases, the cause of APD is unclear. However, experts believe age, family history, prenatal issues, traumatic brain injury and other medical conditions can play a role.
Many people with APD also have ADHD or a language processing disorder, which can make an accurate diagnosis difficult.
Diagnosing Auditory Processing Disorder
If your child exhibits any of the above signs of APD, it’s important to take them to an audiologist to be evaluated right away, as APD can impact learning and school performance.
To make a diagnosis, an audiologist will first complete a thorough case history and may discuss any problems that occurred in utero in addition to what situations your child has most difficulty with.
Teachers, coaches and specialists at The Tacoma Community College Early Learning Center may be able to offer helpful information about your child’s symptoms.
Treatment for Auditory Processing Disorder
Unfortunately, there is no cure for APD, though there are a number of treatment options available that can make symptoms manageable. Though there may be some trial and error involved, treatment strategies that may be used include:
- Assistive listening technology.
- Auditory training.
- Compensatory strategies.
You can also make environmental changes, like requesting people speak slower, getting written instructions instead of verbal ones and sitting in front of the classroom.
For more information about auditory processing disorder or to schedule an appointment with an expert, call Evergreen Speech & Hearing Inc today!