Auditory Processing Disorder Affects Learning and Communication
Auditory processing Disorder (APD) affects learning and communication at any age. It is NOT caused by hearing loss. Although many APD-related symptoms appear to be similar to those caused by hearing loss, they happen for different reasons. One might say that APD mimics hearing loss.
APD is due to sound processing problems of the brain itself. This is why it is also called CAPD or Central Auditory Processing Disorder. The brain struggles to make sense of sounds.
Yet, not all APD is the same. There are different types of processing issues, but the symptoms are pretty much alike and may overlap..
Words and sound signals that travel from the ears to the brain may be perfectly clear. Yet, the brain has trouble sorting, interpreting, recognizing, or understanding them. Also, the brain may confuse words. It may put them in the wrong order or jumble their spelling. No wonder that understanding speech, especially in noise, becomes a common struggle.
Research shows that APD is involved in a significant number of dyslexia cases and that it affects 43% of children struggling in school.
APD is not ADHD
APD interferes with a child’s speech & language development and slows education. A struggling student can appear tired, bored or disinterested and show feelings of frustration. Unfortunately, such behavioral issues in the classroom might be mistaken for ADHD.
Therefore, it is important to get a professional evaluation by an audiologist first. Hastily interpreted symptoms may not reflect reality and lead to misdiagnosis.
Get a correct diagnosis – the earlier the better!
It is always best to deal with any speech, language, and learning issues early on. Audiologists diagnose APD. However, this is not an easy task. Standard hearing tests tend to be normal in those with APD and do NOT diagnose APD. And so, a variety of different tests and assessments are used to help pinpoint the condition .
And so, it takes an experienced professional to dig deeper because it is crucial to distinguish between Hearing Loss, APD and ADHD. The diagnosis may be further complicated If these conditions coexist and overlap
No clear-cut exact causes
Causes for APD are quite varied and not well defined. There may be a genetic link as it can run in families. Frequent, prolonged ear infections, premature birth, low oxygen at birth, infections such as meningitis, lead poisoning, head injuries, stroke, and conditions such as MS figure on the lengthy list of suspected causes.
Although there is no cure for APD, the condition is treatable in both children and adults. Treatments are adapted to the individual patient. Guided by speech-language therapists and audiologists, patients work on improving their speech and listening skills. They learn coping and problem-solving techniques. They learn how to make the most of their strengths and of their environment, such as sitting in a quieter area at work or in the classroom.
In the end,
Auditory Processing Disorder affects learning and communication. By getting a correct diagnosis and professional help as early as possible, people can live a full and productive life despite the condition.
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