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Auditory processing refers to how the brain perceives and interprets language. Several skills determine auditory processing ability or listening success; they include auditory awareness, auditory discrimination, auditory identification and auditory comprehension.

An auditory processing disorder (APD) is a disorder in “how” auditory information is processed in the brain; the area of the brain responsible for interpreting sound through auditory awareness, discrimination, identification and /or comprehension, does not function properly.


Your child hears typically, but as sound moves from the ear to the brain there is distortion and/or delay of the signal, bringing challenges to everyday hearing and listening tasks. 


The symptoms of APD are extremely varied and often resemble those seen with language impairments, ADHD, and/or Autism. Some of the most common symptoms are listed below:


Auditory Processing Disorder Symptoms


  • Develops speech at a late age

  • Difficulty following more than one direction at a time

  • Commonly asks “HUH” or “WHAT”

  • A tendency to ask for restatement or clarification

  • Often needs information repeated

  • Struggles with similar sounding words (such as cat and cap)

  • Distracted/bored when activities do not include visuals

  • Has trouble paying attention for appropriated periods (during a class or lecture)

  • Becomes upset or frightened by loud environments

  • Displays poor memory for words and numbers

  • Tendency to appear quiet, distracted, or off topic during group discussions

  • Difficulty with complex language (i.e., word problems, jokes, abstract language  or long stories)

  • Long delays in response to oral questions or directions

  • Struggles with basic language skills, including reading and reading comprehension, spelling and vocabulary

  • Decrease in academic performance with an increase in oral instruction and receptive language demands


The above symptoms become more pronounced in noisy listening environments, where countless distractions and interruptions compete for an individual’s attention. For example, it will be much more difficult to tune out excess sound in a classroom, busy supermarket or crowded restaurant.


APD cannot be formally diagnosed by an audiologist until age 7 years, when the auditory system has maturated (fully developed). However, by age 5, speech-language pathologists and/or audiologists can administer a sound based screening test along with auditory based language tests and determine if the child is “at risk” or “showing signs of APD.” The earlier a child is diagnosed with auditory processing disorder, the better. When APD interventions are initiated early, the more likely it is that the child will have fewer or milder academic difficulties later in life.  


If you have concerns about your child’s auditory processing development, please contact us online, send us an email or call us at 888-28-LAPSA (52772) to set up a consultation in our office.


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