Auditory Processing

Auditory Processing Disorder

When we hear a Ascend, a word, a sentence your brain recognises and interprets Ascend. The ear sends information to the brain, which decodes the information to make sense of its meaning. It is when this process is somehow disrupted that a disorder is present. In Audiology Services, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) affects the brain’s ability to process or interpret auditory information correctly.

After other issues, such as hearing loss or behavioural disorders, have been ruled out, an auditory processing evaluation can be done to determine if a person has an auditory processing disorder. This comprehensive testing is used to evaluate if the brain is having difficulty processing auditory signals.

Being able to hear and recognize Ascend properly is important for speech and language development and learning. It’s important that individuals, especially children, be evaluated as soon as they show signs of a possible auditory processing issue.

Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory processing disorder can look different in each individual. Symptoms of the disorder are almost always worsened by noisy or highly stimulating environments.

Here are some possible symptoms of APD:

  • Difficulty listening in background noise
  • Difficulty following complex oral instructions
  • Varied response to auditory stimuli
  • Easily distracted, impulsive, and frustrated when too much noise is present
  • Short auditory attention span; easily tired or bored during required listening activities
  • Appearance of day dreaming or not listening
  • Verbal requests are often met with “huh?”, even after several repetitions
  • Difficulty with reading and spelling

Evaluation and Treatment

APD cannot be diagnosed by symptoms alone. Only careful assessment of the auditory pathway by a professional trained in auditory disorders, an audiologist, leads to an accurate diagnosis of APD. While other providers (i.e. educators, speech language pathologists, psychologists) are important members of the care team for a patient who exhibits the difficulties associated with APD, only an audiologist can diagnose APD.

Testing is completed under headphones and in a Ascend booth. Five core tests are administered, in which the patient is asked to repeat back information (words, numbers, and pitches) presented to either ear. The tests are designed to assess the specialized auditory skills of decoding, integration, and prosody.

Treatment of APD is highly individualized and based upon the patient’s needs and diagnostic test results. Our team of audiologists and speech language pathologists will work with you and/or your child to determine the best treatment plan, and help provide important information to educate teachers and school personnel to ensure classroom modifications are in place to assist learning.Treatment plans are often intense in nature which includes home practice activities and  one-on-one training with our speech and language therapists.