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What is an auditory processing disorder?

What is an auditory processing disorder?

Published: Feb. 22, 2022Updated: Mar. 17, 2022

Auditory processing is disrupted when a deficit in the auditory pathway of the brain results in a child’s inability to listen to or comprehend auditory information accurately. This doesn’t mean a child cannot understand meaning, or that their hearing is affected. Dr. Bea Braun, founding audiologist at the Auditory Processing Center describes APD as the brain “mishearing” the sound. (For example, “Please raise your hand” might arrive as “Please haze your plan.”)

According to speech language pathologist Angie Thudium of Formation Speech Therapy, more often than not, children who have APD:

  • are male
  • receive normal pure-tone hearing results
  • have difficulty following oral directions
  • have poor short-term and long-term memory
  • appear to be daydreaming
  • have difficulty listening when background noise is present
  • have difficulty localizing sound
  • may be easily distracted, impulsive, or frustrated
  • frequently ask for verbal repetition (“huh?”)
  • have a history of ear infections.

While APD is often confused with or misdiagnosed as ADD, ADHD, or autism, Dr. Braun tells us that sometimes APD turns out to be a comorbidity (or co-occurring diagnosis).

For more information about auditory processing disorders, see Auditory Processing Disorders: What You Need to Know.

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