What is APD?
Auditory processing refers to how your brain interprets sounds into for meaningful communication. It involves four major steps: detection, discrimination, identification, and comprehension. For many children (and adults) with APD, often hearing evaluation results are within normal limits and there is no diagnosis of hearing loss. This may also be a factor in "hidden hearing loss" cases.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a difficulty with one or more of these steps making it more difficult to understand speech. For many children and adults with APD, hearing test results are within normal limits and there is no diagnosis of hearing loss. This could be a factor in "hidden hearing loss" cases. This disorder is often misdiagnosed. APD affects approximately 2.5 million, or 20%, of school-aged children as well as adults of all ages. It is common for younger and middle-aged adults to notice symptoms of APD in specific listening situations such as classrooms, work, or social environments. Many may recognize, later in life, the struggles they may have had growing up.
When thinking about how we hear, it is important to know that we do not “hear” with our ears, we “hear” with our brain. Our ears collect the sounds around us to then be delivered to our brains. To apply meaning to these sounds being heard, sounds must be further processed by your brain. Auditory processing is how your brain interprets the sounds you hear every day so that you understand the sounds around you. Auditory processing has four main mechanisms: detection, discrimination, identification, and comprehension. Auditory Processing Disorder (also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD) is poor performance in one or more of these mechanisms, making it more difficult to "hear", or understand, speech.
Auditory Processing Disorders can only be diagnosed by an Audiologist, and therefore is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for a large percent of people who may exhibit symptoms. Signs and symptoms of APD can include speech delay, difficulty following verbal directions, appearing distracted, difficulty in noisy environments, difficulty spelling, reading comprehension issues, writing difficulty, organization of numbers and/or letters, localizing sound, following lengthy conversations, and/or disorganization. To effectively rule out or confirm an APD diagnosis, a full test battery must be performed. Because APD can affect everyone differently, it is important to find the areas of weakness to provide a concise and appropriate therapy plan. If you, or your child, are diagnosed with APD, therapy centered around current research may be recommended to strengthen the brain’s processing abilities of speech and language.
We are excited to be able to offer these services at our clinic and look forward to being able to help more patients overcome the difficulties they may be experiencing. Dr. Nathan K. Griffin is extremely passionate about recognizing and treating auditory processing disorders. Having been diagnosed with APD personally, Dr. Griffin understands the difficulties associated with APD and the need for accessible treatment. Every encounter is unique as he approaches each patient as an individual, with specific difficulties, to properly evaluate, diagnose, and treat auditory processing disorders in a way that works best for them.
At our office, we are ready to join you on the journey better hearing. We will continue to strive to help reconnect people with their loved ones, friends, and coworkers through better hearing.
Signs of APD
- Following directions
- Learning to spell, read, reading comprehension, and/or write
- Remembering auditory information
- Organization of numbers
- Knowing where sound is coming from
- Following or understanding telephone conversations
- Following long conversations
- Taking notes
- Understanding accents
- Technical information where language is novel or unfamiliar
- Social issues - difficulty "reading" others/pragmatic communication issues
- Consistent delay in Reponses
Symptoms of APD in Children
- Is the child easily distracted?
- Are noisy environments distracting or upsetting?
- Does the child's behavior improve in quieter settings?
- Does the child have trouble following directions, whether simple or complicated?
- Does the child have reading, spelling, or writing difficulties?
- Is the child disorganized or forgetful?
- Are conversations difficult for the child to follow?