What is Auditory Processing?
Auditory Processing is “what we do with what we hear”. The ear is responsible for picking up and hearing sounds. Once the ear has heard a sound, it transmits it to the brain. From the time the sound leaves the cochlea (the inner ear), auditory processing begins. Upon leaving the cochlea, sound travels through the central nervous system (CNS) up to the brain (cortex). The CNS is responsible for discriminating sounds, recognizing auditory patterns (pitch, timing, etc.), localizing environments (i.e., in the presence of background noise). The brain must organize what we “har” so it can process or “make sense” of this information.
What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?
An auditory processing disorder may be present if the CNS cannot efficiently perform any of the above-mentioned functions. In other words, au auditory processing disorder is the inability to attend to, recognize, discriminate, or understand auditory information your child “hears” and listens to. When there is a breakdown in any of these auditory processing functions, it will result in the reduced ability for your child to learn through hearing. Most people with auditory processing disorders have normal hearing and normal intelligence.
What are some symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorders?
- Children/Adults with auditory processing disorders may present with some or all of the following symptoms:
- Says “huh” or “what” frequently
- Responds inconsistently to sound (sometimes child seems to hear and sometimes they do not)
- Often misunderstands what is said
- Asks for repetition
- Has poor auditory attention
- Is easily distracted
- Has difficulty following oral instructions
- Has difficulty hearing in the presence of background noise
- Has difficulty with phonics and speech-sound discrimination
- Has poor receptive and expressive language
- May have difficulty with reading, spelling and/or other academic problems
- Extensive history of chronic otitis media (fluid and/or ear infections)
How is an Auditory Processing Disorder diagnosed?
The audiologist will review any reports or evaluations that the patient already has. Once the evaluation is deemed necessary, a comprehensive hearing test is recommended and can be completed at the time of the auditory processing evaluation. Full diagnostic testing typically begins at age 7, however we are happy to evaluate children as young as age 4, although testing is limited. Upon diagnosis, suggestions for recommendations will be made based on the profile of defict disordered. Recommendations may include accommodations, direct auditory training and compensatory strategies. We are currenlty able to provide training using CAPDOTS, Acoustic Pioneer and HearBuilder.