When a child has normal hearing, yet has difficulty listening in the classroom ‘central auditory processing (CAPD)’ or auditory processing disorder (APD) are the terms that are often used.

Auditory processing is the process in which the ears detect sound at normal levels (as determined by a hearing test), however, as the sound travels along the auditory pathway to the brain, it is the inability of the brain to process the message. Essentially, auditory processing is how the brain comprehends messages; this can also be further complicated by difficulties with language processing or receptive language, which is different than auditory processing. The actual processing of information is what allows a child to understand the meaning of words and to determine the direction of sound, the type of sound, and the separation of sound from background noise, in order to interpret it.

Symptoms of APD can range from mild to severe and can take many different forms. Although many school age children show signs of APD, teens and adults are also afflicted. Common factors include (but are not limited to):

  • Being easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises
  • Becoming upset in noisy environments
  • Improvement in behavior and performance in quieter settings
  • Difficulty following instructions, both simple and complex
  • Difficulties with reading, spelling, writing, and other speech and language tasks
  • Difficulty with comprehension of abstract concepts and information
  • Difficulty with math word problems, and understanding the language of math
  • Tendency to be unfocused, disorganized, and forgetful
  • Difficulty following conversations

There is formal testing that can be completed to determine whether an auditory processing disorder and/or language processing disorder is contributing to difficulties at school. There are also many strategies and interventions that can aid school age children, teens, and adults so they may reach their potential both academically and professionally.

If you have further questions or concerns regarding auditory processing, call the HearSay Speech and Hearing Centre to speak with the Audiologist. 905-875-3345