What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?
Despite having normal hearing sensitivity, people with auditory processing disorders (APD) have difficulty processing and interpreting auditory information. The ear detects and transmits sound to the brain normally, but when the orally presented information goes to the brain, the child or adult has problems interpreting or understanding it accurately or efficiently.
Signs of an Auditory Processing Disorder
- Difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise
- Difficulty remembering auditory information
- Difficulty organizing sounds in a proper sequence
- Problems successfully combining auditory and visual information
- Difficulty with localization of sound
- Problems attending to different information presented to opposite ears
- A consistent delay in response to a question or instructions
- Difficulty with reading, spelling, reading comprehension
- Difficulty following a string of directions delivered orally
How is an Auditory Processing Disorder diagnosed?
At Aberdeen Audiology, we primarily use the Buffalo Model for diagnosing and treating auditory processing issues, which was developed by Jack Katz, Ph.D. while at the University of Buffalo. We assess patients (ages 7 years and older) on the degree to which they deviate from the norms on several listening tests. The tests measure a person’s performance in four categories:
The ability to quickly and accurately process phonemes, or, the sounds of speech.
- Tolerance-Fading Memory
The ability to understand speech while in competing noise and the necessary short-term memory capacity to do so.
The ability to store orally presented information in the brain.
The ability for the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate.
Treating Auditory Processing Disorders
Most commercially available programs provide practice related to general auditory processing skills, whereas the Buffalo Model’s treatment targets the specific areas of weakness identified in the APD testing. This program relies on the anatomy and physiology of the central auditory nervous system regions. We identify the child’s specific deficits which are associated with specific academic and communication difficulties.
For a trained doctor of audiology (Au.D.) an Auditory Processing Disorder is not very difficult to identify, classify, or even to remediate. It is estimated that 20 percent of the school age population has APD. The therapy associated with this model works directly on those areas found to be related to the diagnosed APD categories. Therefore, it is a deficit specific therapy, which allows extensive training in the child’s weak areas. Most commercially available programs only provide practice related to general auditory processing skills. Working one-to-one with a professional on auditory training can develop the skills and strategies specific to the child’s deficit.
APD Therapy Schedule
- Once a week for 50 minutes.
- 10-15 sessions
- About 10% will require a second round of therapy
- 2-3% will require a third round
- Follow-up by retest.
What if I suspect APD?
If you suspect that you or your children has an auditory processing disorder, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.