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Image of Child boy at speech therapist office.Finding a better way to evaluate and treat auditory processing disorder (APD) is the goal of a new program at Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte.

“Hear Listen Learn” takes a multi-faceted approach to dealing with APD, which jumbles what a brain is supposed to do with the sounds it hears. A person could hear perfectly on a test but still be unable to process the sounds received by the brain.

The program is broken up into the three areas: Hear, Listen, and Learn. While this article discusses all parts of our program, individuals may only need intervention in a specific area. Every patient is evaluated and treatment options are specific to their difficulties. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to APD.

Hear

Auditory processing is defined as “what the brain does with what we hear”. For comprehension to occur, words need to be carried to the language center of the brain without distortion or disruption of the signal for comprehension to occur.

Auditory functions include hearing in noise, understanding distorted speech, being able to use the information from both ears when it is conflicting, being able to ignore competing auditory information, and being able to hear slight differences in pitch and timing. Intake of information by ear is not a “one-way” street. Cognitive, attention, and memory problems can affect how the information is received.

The peripheral auditory system is comprehensively evaluated to ensure all sounds of speech can be detected. An APD test battery is completed to evaluate how the brain processes speech and non-speech sounds, while assistive listening devices and/or hearing aids are fit if necessary.

Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte conducts this testing to determine which category of APD an individual has and recommend the therapies would likely produce the best results for the individual. We will help you take a proactive approach to living with auditory processing disorder.

Listen

Auditory training for phoneme discrimination, speech in noise, metacognitive strategies, dichotic listening, and localization training are completed in our office or through home-based programs. These programs are not to be confused with speech-language therapy; we focus only on the auditory perception and processing of these sounds.

  • Phonemic training: A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that has a meaning – for example, the “b” in “bat,” which is different than “vat” or “cat.” Our APD testing identifies the phonemes that are difficult to identify and we work specifically on these sounds.
  • Speech in noise: Specialized training to improve the ability to pick out and understand speech sounds when they are presented in background noise. This therapy is conducted in the sound booth using multi-talker speech as our background noise to simulate the most difficult listening situations (such as a noisy cafeteria, restaurant, or party).
  • Metacognitive strategies: These methods are designed to help individuals have a better understanding of how they most effectively learn. Having this knowledge allows people to use better techniques to learn new information.
  • Dichotic listening: Dichotic listening difficulties are identified through our APD test battery. Our training systematically increases performance of the weaker ear to improve the individual’s ability to process sounds from both sides at the same time.
  • Localization training: This training helps individuals identify the origin of a sound, determining where it came from and the distance from them.

Learn

Undergoing reading comprehension tutoring with our literacy specialist helps put all the training into practice.

For more information on Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte’s APD evaluation, call us at 704-412-7975 or contact us online.

- Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte
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