Understanding Auditory Processing Disorder


There are several kinds of auditory processing issues. The symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Children with APD can have weaknesses in one, some or all of these areas:

·         Auditory discrimination:

 The ability to notice, compare and distinguish between distinct and separate sounds. The words seventy and seventeen may sound alike, for instance.

·         Auditory figure-ground discrimination

The ability to focus on the important sounds in a noisy setting. It would be like sitting at a party and not being able to hear the person next to you because there's so much background chatter.

·         Auditory memory

The ability to recall what you've heard, either immediately or when you need it later.

·         Auditory sequencing:

The ability to understand and recall the order of sounds and words. A child might say or write "ephelant" instead of "elephant," or hear the number 357 but write 735.

Children with APD usually have at least some of the following symptoms:

·         Find it hard to follow spoken directions, especially multi-step instructions

·         Ask speakers to repeat what they've said, or saying, "huh?" or "what?"

·         Be easily distracted, especially by background noise or loud and sudden noises

·         Have trouble with reading and spelling, which require the ability to process and interpret sounds

·         Struggle with oral (word) math problems

·         Find it hard to follow conversations

·         Have poor musical ability

·         Find it hard to learn songs or nursery rhymes

·         Have trouble remembering details of what was read or heard


It's difficult to diagnose children with APD before age 7 or 8. Some of these auditory skills don't develop until then.[6] Getting a diagnosis requires finding a trained audiologist who can run electrophysiological tests. These tests record how the brain responds to sounds.

APD is when the ear hears, but the brain misinterprets what it hears.

If you want to find out more or arrange an assessment, please contact our speech therapy department:

Andrea Jennings 084 870 2699 or Jana Heath 072 961 8743


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