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Posted on Monday, May 27, 2013

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Child with central auditory processing disorder playing piano.

Central auditory processing disorder also known as auditory processing disorder makes it harder for children to discern, recognize, group and organize sounds the way an average student might. These children will have more problems in school, because of this deficit and the way it complicates a child's recognition of speech sounds. Although they vary from individual to individual, there are some key signs and symptoms of this language recognition deficit.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Central auditory processing disorder has many different aspects and symptoms that can vary depending on the individual, but there are markers for the condition that both parents and teachers can learn to recognize. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) says children with a central auditory processing disorder might, "have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, following directions, and discriminating (or telling the difference between) similar-sounding speech sounds. Sometimes they may behave as if a hearing loss is present, often asking for repetition or clarification."

In her article on central auditory processing disorder and Autism in The Hearing Journal, Carol A. Lau provides clarification on these signs stating, "auditory processing symptoms including difficulty tolerating noisy environments, distractibility from listening tasks, distractibility by noise, inability to process lengthy auditory inputs, excessive reaction to loud sounds, speaking with a loud, frequently monotone voice, and a lack of response to spoken language. Parents often describe an acute sense of hearing but an inability to understand or respond to speech…" These general symptoms don't always indicate a central auditory processing disorder, so further testing by an audiologist is needed to conclusively diagnose the condition.

Diagnosing a Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Not all learning or listening or even language problems lead directly to a diagnosis of central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). Diagnosing any child with a CAPD is done with a strict evaluation performed by an audiologist. This standard is supported by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), in their statement, "the actual diagnosis of APD must be made by an audiologist." So why an audiologist?

Audiologist have the specialized training and sophisticated equipment necessary to evaluate the presence of a central auditory processing disorder and its exact nature. Listening and processing comprehension can occur at many different levels. As ASHA also notes that, "it is necessary to determine the type of auditory deficit a given child exhibits so that individualized management and treatment activities may be recommended that address his or her specific areas of difficulty."

In addition to diagnosing a central auditory processing disorder an audiologist can also make sure that there are no hearing loss issues. Obtaining the most accurate assessment of your child's speech and hearing problems helps to ensure she or he receives the best treatment options. If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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