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Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

What is APD

An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a breakdown in understanding sounds that occur in the brain. It impairs one’s ability to make sense of what is being heard. It is not a hearing loss. APD can occur in children and adults and may result from illness (including “brain fog” after having COVID), genetics, aging, head injury, or birth trauma.

Characteristics of APD

It is believed that understanding speech in quiet, as well as speech in noise, short-term/working auditory memory, sequencing, and localizing sounds, are important functions that are dependent on auditory processing skills. Some characteristics individuals with an auditory processing disorder have include difficulty following directions, difficulty with reading comprehension, spelling, forgetfulness, and asking for repetition to name a few. Some individuals with diagnoses of ADHD and Dyslexia may also have APD.

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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