Auditory Processing Disorder

Professional testing guidance and therapy for individuals with APD.

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What is Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)?

Auditory Processing (AP) is best described as “What the brain does with what the ear hears” (Terri James Bellis – 2001). The brain must accurately decode what the ear tells it to attach meaning to the sound coming in. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is an inability to attend to discriminate between, organise, recognise or understand aspects of the auditory signal that does not only result from an impairment in hearing sensitivity or low cognitive functioning. APD is not limited to children and is in fact more prevalent in adults.

Language is learned through listening. To learn a language, one needs to be able to attend to, listen to, and separate important speech from all the other noises of daily living, at home, at school and socially. When one’s Auditory Processing skills are weak, the child or adult may experience auditory overload, making communication and learning a real challenge. This can impact listening and speaking, reading and writing and in turn, doing.

As part of our wide range of assessments and services we offer professional testing and guidance to individuals with APD.

More about diagnosing APD …

APD can only be assessed by an audiologist. This assessment takes part in a soundproof booth using specialised and calibrated equipment. It is a team-based assessment and previous assessment reports and input from other professionals are essential to obtain the best overview of the AP skills of the person.

Based on the findings of the assessment, previous assessment reports and information from the parents, the audiologist will be able to identify or describe the weakness in AP and provide remediation and management strategies for the parents, the teachers, the adult, the child and the therapists working with the individual. A differential diagnosis is very important as each person requires different strategies based on their strengths and weaknesses.

It is also important that each person knows and understands how his/her brain works best and how to make learning, working and communication work best for them. In some cases, the the person will benefit from using a personal FM amplification system or low level hearing aids to assist with learning and communication.


“APD refers to the deficits in the neural processing of auditory information in the Central Auditory Nervous System.”

– American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


“Auditory processing disorders can be healed.” 

What does an Auditory Processing Assessment include?

  • A peripheral hearing assessment to identify or exclude peripheral hearing loss
  • Administration of a variety of tasks that investigate aspects of auditory processing such as decoding, listening in noise, localisation of sound, integration of auditory information, pitch pattern recognition, and organisation of auditory information.
  • Discussion of the results and preparation of a report.

What signs that you, or your child has APD:

Auditory Processing Disorder can present itself in a similar manner to a number of other conditions. Here is a checklist of some of the behaviours that may be seen in a person with a APD – he or she may:


be doing poorly in reading, writing and spelling


not pay attention or is daydreaming in class


have problems learning a foreign language


learn through the auditory channel but does better with visual stimuli


not be able to write from dictation


“mishear” words


not participate in class discussions


misunderstand homework assignments or fail to follow directions


not be able to tolerate a noisy room or is fidgety in noisy places


have trouble understanding stories read aloud


take cryptic and insignificant notes


not get the salient points /relevant facts


have trouble depicting directions embedded in other information


have trouble with math word problems


appear to have a latency of response or delayed response to a question


have difficulty learning songs, or sings the wrong words to songs


often say “huh” or “what” or asks, “what do you mean?”

If you recognise these signs, it might be helpful to have a CAPD assessment conducted by a professional.

How do we treat Auditory Processing Disorders?

  • Direct Therapy or auditory training with an audiologist.
  • Strategies for home, school and work.
  • Home-based training activities.

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