What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?

In broad terms, an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) refers to how the central nervous system (CNS) uses auditory information.  APD is also referred to as a Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). People with APD or CAPD have difficulty processing and interpreting auditory information even with normal hearing sensitivity. With this type of disorder, one can hear within normal limits, but the brain struggles to interpret a message fully. A child with APD has difficulty understanding orally presented information, especially in the presence of competing signals and background noise. One thing that is also important to understand about APD is that it is an auditory deficit, not the result of other higher-order cognitive, language, or related disorder.

How APD is diagnosed?

The model used at Hearing Specialists Inc. to diagnose APD in children is the Buffalo Model test battery, developed by Dr. Jack Katz. This testing procedure utilizes three different listening situations to measure a child or student’s performance in four categories: Decoding, Tolerance-Fading Memory, Integration and Organization. At Hearing Specialists Inc. we assess children 6 years of age and older and compare their performance, on each test, to standardized norms for their age group. 

What are the symptoms?

There are many symptoms that a child can display with an Auditory Processing Disorder, and can vary depending on what area/s of the brain the deficit originates. Some people have deficits in one area; others have a deficit in multiple areas (i.e.  Decoding, Tolerance-Fading Memory, Integration and Organization) Some symptoms in children with APD are:

  • Difficulty quickly and accurately processing speech
  • Difficulty understanding what is said
  • Difficulty listening in noisy environments
  • Difficulty with remembering directions and auditory information
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Difficulty academically especially with reading, spelling and phonics

Who is a candidate for testing?

Any child who has a suspected hearing and/or listening problem pertaining to academic problems. For example, asking for multiple repetitions, trouble copying down or retaining oral instructions, difficulty with phonics or reading comprehension and those who are easily distracted by noise. Age 7 is generally the preferred age to test for APD due to stronger normative data. No less than 6 years of age should be tested. A child must have a receptive and expressive vocabulary. The goal is to rule out or identify an Auditory Processing Disorder.

When, where and how is testing conducted?

The Auditory Processing Evaluation includes a complete diagnostic Audiologic Evaluation, detailed case history, including The Buffalo Model Questionnaire and full Test Battery. Testing will be performed on Friday mornings from 9:30 – 11:30 AM. Patients and parents should arrive at 9:00 AM to fill out all paperwork necessary for the testing and report. We will allow two hours for testing in the morning so that the child is alert and will have time for breaks between each listening session. We are located in close proximity to the Willow Grove Exit of the PA turnpike at 723 Fitzwatertown Rd. Willow Grove, PA 19090. Please feel free to call our office for scheduling or more information at 215-659-8805.