A practice devoted to the diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorders
If you have come to this page, you are probably concerned about your child, or possibly, yourself. Someone may have mentioned Auditory Processing as a problem area and you are just wondering…
The most common question someone reading this page has is: an evaluation for Auditory Processing Disorder appropriate? Should this be the next step? Here are some behaviors typical of persons with Auditory Processing Disorders:
- acts as though a hearing loss is present; says “huh?” or “what?” a lot. Needs frequent repetitions or rephrasing.
- but passes hearing tests.
- has difficulty understanding speech in the presence of competing background noise or in reverberant acoustic environments.
- has difficulty localizing the source of a signal.
- has difficulty understanding on the telephone, or avoids using the telephone.
- has difficulty following rapid speech.
- often accused of “selective listening” or not paying attention.
- difficulty remembering the lyrics to songs; often believes the lyrics to be different from what others hear.
- has academic difficulties, including reading, spelling and/or learning problems.
Do these characteristics sound familiar? Then testing for Auditory Processing Disorders could be the next logical step, and you have come to the right place.
Improvement of listening environment. Children with APD show difficulty listening in noise to a signal that they can process in a quiet environment. All classrooms are inherently noisy environments. Immediate ways to improve the auditory environment in a classroom include placing the child’s desk at a distance from the teacher in which the child can easily read the teacher’s lips while simultaneously listening. A light tap on the child’s shoulder can be used by the teacher to alert the child that something important is about to be said. Seating the child near a highly achieving classmate with permission for the two to be “study buddies” can allow the child to take cues from the buddy about important auditory instructions or meaning. Soundfield or personal FM systems have had great success in making it easier for the child to differentiate the teacher’s voice from typical classroom noise.
Auditory Training. Multiple research studies show that practice in focused listening to challenging stimuli requiring an interactive response and giving immediate feedback improves the listening ability of children with APD. Many computer games (used with earphones) are available that provide listening practice and which also sustain children’s attention. All musical training is a form of focused listening. Participation in individual music lessons, as well as participation in band, orchestra, choir or small musical groups provides auditory training that provides challenge to the child with Auditory Processing difficulties.
Listening Strategies. For years persons with hearing loss have been using compensation strategies that help them to function in challenging listening environments. Although hearing loss, per se, is not the problem for children with APD, the same strategies can be useful to smooth socially rough patches, and gain cooperation from communication partners. For example: most people respond poorly to a request for repetition that is packaged as a constant stream of “huh?” or “what?” But a “huh?” that is replaced with “excuse me, I didn’t quite catch what you said” improves tempers all around.