What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a deficit in the way the neural representation of sounds is processed by the brain, resulting in a distorted neural representation of the auditory signal within the auditory nervous system. APD creates difficulty in listening (i.e. hearing with intent to extract information). (Dillon and Cameron, 2015)

Behaviours in children and adults with APD that may be reported and/or observed include, but are not limited to include:

difficulty following multiple or lengthy spoken instructions
• difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise, such as a noisy classroom,
• difficulty hearing when speech is not clear or is ‘degraded’- eg   accented speech, phone conversations with a bad line
• mishearing
• slowness in processing and responding to auditory information
• inconsistent or inappropriate responses to spoken requests for information
• frequent requests for repetition saying “what” or “huh” often

Individuals with APD may have normal audiogram, a test used to assess one’s ability to hear different pitches of sound, but to refer to them as having “normal hearing”, as often occurs, is inaccurate. They may have normal “hearing thresholds” but by definition they will demonstrate reduced hearing ability on other measures of hearing.

How do you test for Auditory Processing Disorder? What is involved?

At Victorian Hearing, we offer an Auditory processing test for children aged 7 years +. The full test takes 2 hours in total and can be split into two 1hr sessions. 

  • Prior to the consultation, a questionnaire is provided to parents and/or person’s referring for the test
    The questions are designed to compare the child of interest to other children of similar age and background. The questions are not designed to be answered based only on the difficulty of the listening condition. For example, all 8-year-old children, to a certain extent, may not hear and understand when listening in a noisy room; this would be a difficult listening condition for all children. However, some children may have more difficulty in this listening condition than others.
  • The audiologist will take a thorough history first with the parent alone then with the child to identify the areas of difficulty 
  • A comprehensive hearing assessment
    Should there be an abnormal result, such as a significant difference in hearing between the ears, the presence of middle ear pathology and/or active ear infections, the child is referred for further medical investigations. Normal hearing thresholds must be achieved prior to further testing.
  • A comprehensive test battery including 6 individual tests are assessed.
    These tests assess varying domains of auditory processing and include spatial segregation, binaural integration, temporal processing, auditory closure and auditory memory skills. 
  • A comprehensive report with management and remediation recommendations provided to parents and/or referring specialist

For more information or queries about our auditory processing testing at Victorian Hearing please phone us on (03) 9558 8842 or email at info@victorianhearing.com.au. One of our friendly audiologists would be happy to provide you with all you need to know.