Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)-Jessica from Life Hearing Solutions
APD is a catch-all term for hearing difficulties caused by central processing disorders.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
APD is a catch-all term for hearing difficulties caused by central processing disorders. In most cases, a person may have a completely normal audiogram, but their ability to hear and understand speech in noise is compromised. Signs of APD are auditory attention problems, better understanding in one-on-one situations, difficulties in hearing noise, noise localization and remembering oral information, talking louder than necessary, often needing repetition of instructions or information given, interpreting words too literally, reliance on accommodation and modification strategies, and other similar habits.
Causes of APD are unknown, but theories include acquired injuries to the processing centres of the brain at birth, genetic issues that cause processing problems, or developmental issues in the auditory processing area of the brain, such as chronic otitis media (middle ear infections) as a child.
Diagnosis of APD is difficult, considering most people with symptoms of it typically have no evidence of neurological disease. Therefore, diagnosis is made on the basis of performance on behavioural auditory tests. The subjective symptoms that lead to an evaluation for APD include an intermittent inability to process verbal information, leading the person to guess to fill in the processing gaps, and problems interpreting speech in noisy environments. With APD, one can hear clearly, but their ability to interpret what they’re hearing, or discriminate sounds, appears to be far from normal.
With children, an audiologist is required for diagnosis (five main problem areas: auditory figure-ground, memory, discrimination, attention, and cohesion), auditory training, fitting of hearing aids, and assistive technology if necessary. A speech-language therapist is required for some assessments and for language therapy. An Education Advisor experienced in special education is required to observe and assess the child in a classroom, and to work with the teacher to develop an education plan and teaching strategies. They will also facilitate the use of remote microphone hearing aids or frequency modulation (FM) systems if needed. Various other professionals may need to be involved depending on each child’s needs.
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