Image of girl with letters swirling around her head and hearsThe brain’s ability to piece together sounds received by the ears and knowing what to do with them is a complex system of decoding and processing auditory clues.

Sometimes that system gets mixed up.

Auditory processing disorder (APD) occurs when sounds get jumbled in the central auditory pathway, where sounds are supposed to be interpreted and give meaning to the brain. This negatively impacts the brain’s ability to properly process the sounds received by the ears.

Although the person may experience typical peripheral hearing, dysfunction in the central auditory pathway juxtaposes the sounds so they do not make complete sense as they reach the brain.

Symptoms of APD

APD can manifest itself in ways that include learning disabilities, poor academic achievement for students, and delayed auditory development. Here are some possible symptoms at different stages:

  1. Preschool: Delayed speech; easily distracted by noise in the background; doesn’t enjoy sitting to hear books being read; asks “What?” frequently, and has difficulty learning songs.
  2. Elementary School: Trouble with multi-step directions; doesn’t understand jokes or humor; doesn’t like interacting with others at recess or in the classroom; difficulty reading out loud.
  3. High School: Struggles to learn a foreign language; often asks “What?”; forgetful; difficulty following directions; difficulty with written exams; mishears or misinterprets what is said.
  4. Adult/College: Difficulty tuning out co-workers while talking on the phone; struggles to follow the conversation in a restaurant; gets frustrated by rapid speech; avoids social gatherings.

Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte offers an APD evaluation to help you take a proactive approach to living with the condition, finding the best solution for you. Call us at 704-412-7975 or contact us online for more information.

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