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Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

What is APD

An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is described as a breakdown between what the ears hear, what the brain understands, and then what the brain does with that information. Auditory processing problems can occur in children and in adults and may be congenital (present from birth) or acquired, such as resulting from head trauma or illness.

Characteristics of APD

Understanding speech in quiet and in noise, short-term or working auditory memory, and sequencing and localizing sounds are all important functions of the central auditory centers of the brain. When there is a disconnect or an inefficiency in any of these higher-order processes, a problem in central auditory processing should be suspected. Characteristics of individuals with auditory processing deficits include the following, just to name a few: difficulty following directions, difficulty with reading comprehension, difficulty spelling, forgetfulness, and asking for repetition. It is also common for people with APD to exhibit characteristics that are commonly associated with ADHD, dyslexia, or other learning impairments.

How to test for APD

Testing adults and children (5 years and older) for APD is done by an Audiologist and involves a variety of tests that evaluate auditory processing. The first test is a comprehensive hearing assessment to rule out hearing loss or any other ear pathology. After the initial hearing evaluation, a battery of APD tests will evaluate how well the two ears work together, the ability to hear the difference in speech sounds, and finally how well a person understands speech in the presence of background noise.

How an Auditory Processing Disorder is diagnosed

Our Centers use the Buffalo Model for diagnosing and treating auditory processing issues, which was developed in 1986 by Jack Katz, PH.D. while at the University of Buffalo. We assess patients (ages 5 years and older) with several listening tests. The tests measure a person’s performance in four categories:

Decoding: The ability to process speech quickly and accurately.

Tolerance-Fading Memory: The ability to understand speech in noise and the ability to remember new information.

Organization: The ability to organize and store orally presented information in the brain.

Integration: The ability for the right and left hemispheres of the brain to communicate. Often associated with Dyslexia or difficulties in the ability to read and spell.

How to treat APD

Following a diagnosis, an individual with APD works with the Audiologist to determine the best form of treatment. There are many treatment options available depending on the severity of the diagnosis. These options include in-office therapy, at-home therapy, listening games, assistive listening technology, as well as developing listening strategies. APD therapy can improve the brain’s ability to understand and process speech.

To learn more, call (269) 343-2601 to schedule a 30-minute APD consult appointment at our Kalamazoo center with Dr. Stacey Braund.

Physicians may use our Referral Form or send in their own.

Image describing Auditory Processing Disorder

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The mission of Constance Brown Hearing Centers is to impact lives through comprehensive hearing care provided by experts with advanced degrees in audiology.

 
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