Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a hearing disorder that affects the way the brain processes auditory information. People with APD have normal hearing sensitivity, but they struggle to interpret and make sense of sounds. APD can affect people of all ages, but it is most commonly diagnosed in children.
Symptoms of APD may include difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, trouble following directions, poor reading and spelling abilities, and difficulty with musical rhythm and timing. People with APD may also struggle to distinguish similar-sounding words and may have trouble understanding conversations on the phone.
Diagnosing APD typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by an audiologist or speech-language pathologist. The evaluation may include tests of hearing sensitivity, speech recognition, and auditory processing abilities. The audiologist or speech-language pathologist may also evaluate the person’s language and cognitive abilities.
Treatment for APD typically involves a combination of auditory training, environmental modifications, and communication strategies. Auditory training involves exercises that are designed to improve the person’s ability to process and interpret sounds. Environmental modifications may include using assistive listening devices or reducing background noise in the environment. Communication strategies may involve teaching the person how to compensate for their listening difficulties, such as using visual cues or asking for clarification. In some cases, the person may also benefit from the use of hearing aids or other amplification devices.