Auditory Processing Disorder

Do you have trouble understanding speech in noisy places?
If so, you may be suffering from auditory processing disorder (APD). APD is a common condition that affects the way the brain processes sound. It can make it difficult to understand what people are saying even when there isn’t background noise.

The good news is that APD can be treated with special exercises and therapies. In fact, most children who receive treatment for APD experience significant improvements in their ability to process sounds and speak clearly.

Feel free to contact us if you would like more information about how we treat auditory processing disorder at our clinic. Ontario Hearing Center has two clinics located at Brighton and Gates.

Getting to Know Auditory Processing Disorder

People with auditory processing disorder usually have normal looking and functioning ears. The thing is, even with normal functioning ears, people with auditory processing disorder find it challenging to process information in the same way as others do. This leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds, especially the sounds composing speech. 

According to the American Academy of Audiology, auditory processing disorder is diagnosed by difficulties in one or more auditory processes known to reflect the function of the central auditory nervous system. Auditory processing disorder can affect both children and adults, but it's not always easy to tell because some people don't know they have it until they experience symptoms like trouble understanding speech or music. Although no one knows for sure how prevalent this disorder is, studies show that 2-7% of children have been diagnosed with APD in the US and UK.

Answers to Your Questions about Auditory Processing Disorder

What causes APD in adults?

For many children, they are born with a condition called auditory processing disorder (APD), which is when the brain cannot process or understand what it hears.

But for adults, the cause of APD in adults may range from head trauma, genetics, tumors, auditory deprivation (untreated hearing loss) and periods of anoxia. In some cases, the cause is unknown.

After a head injury, many people experience auditory symptoms that can be as confusing and debilitating as the initial trauma. Tinnitus, peripheral hearing loss, hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to sound), and difficulty processing information are the most common issues after head injury or post-concussive syndrome.

Do adults with APD have the same symptoms and presenting complaints as children with APD?

Most of the auditory symptoms are difficult to deal with, including difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments or when rapid talkers are speaking, as well as difficulties following directions or understanding verbal presentations. Sometimes they can be quite frustrating and even lead to mishearing.

Differences between children and adult sufferers are largely related to the severity of their symptoms - where children might struggle only academically while adults feel profound emotional impacts as well. Adults find themselves struggling to maintain connections with friends, family members, and colleagues.

The effects of APD on an adult’s daily life depend greatly on whether you're an adult or a child. For adults, the social aspect is often most affected, which can make it difficult to communicate in the workplace. 

Do adults with APD closely resemble adults with hearing loss?

Adults with APD often don't get the help they need because their symptoms are misunderstood.

The problem is that many adults who have a history of auditory processing difficulties in childhood continue to experience them as adults, but without any apparent hearing loss. They may be told by friends and family that they're just "hard of hearing," and encouraged to give up on wearing hearing aids altogether.

The symptoms of auditory processing disorder (APD) are similar to those of hearing loss, and many people don't realize that this is the case until they've tried several different types of amplification. They could be feeling frustrated because no matter what type or style of device they use, it never seems to work well enough for them. Or perhaps family members have been insisting that something must be wrong with their ears if all these expensive devices aren't working out for them.

But there's no reason why people with APD can't achieve satisfying results from amplification if given proper diagnosis and guidance in choosing appropriate devices. That's where we come in! Our audiologists at Ontario Hearing Center specialize in diagnosing and treating adult patients with APD, whether or not they also exhibit peripheral hearing loss, so you'll receive the expert care you deserve when seeking treatment for this condition at our clinic.

Do adults with APDHow does the screening and diagnostic process for APD differ in adults from that of kids? closely resemble adults with hearing loss?

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a common cause of learning disability, but the diagnosis can be challenging. 

We often have to explain the diagnostic process for adults and children.
Adults with APD are usually referred to speech-language pathology by their employer or spouse, whereas kids are typically diagnosed in school. 

The diagnostic process for adult and child APD is actually quite similar. Both groups undergo a battery of tests including assessment of language skills (both spoken and written), cognitive abilities, auditory processing skills, as well as an evaluation of educational background and performance.

A major challenge in diagnosing APD is that it cannot be directly observed and requires careful evaluation by an audiologist or other qualified professional. The diagnosis relies on behavioral observations and performance on standardized tests of auditory perception, attention, memory, language skills and academic achievement. 

To make matters worse for parents seeking help for their struggling child with these issues, many doctors are not familiar with APD as a diagnostic entity. This makes getting a correct diagnosis even more difficult than it already is. Many children go undiagnosed because they are misdiagnosed with ADHD or some other condition. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD you may want to ask your doctor about APD as well. It could turn out to be the answer you have been looking for.

Does auditory processing disorder get worse with age?

The more you age, the less your hearing gets better. The auditory nerve becomes less flexible with age and that can make it harder to listen and process language, especially in noisy places.

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