Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)
Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) or Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is not a hearing impairment, but an inefficient processing of what is being heard. Auditory processing difficulties can affect both children and adults.
The terms Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) or Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) describe a variety of problems that interfere with the processing of auditory information including auditory figure-ground problems, auditory memory problems, auditory discrimination problems, auditory attention problems and auditory cohesion problems. These difficulties are generally aggravated when there is background noise.
Some signs of Central Auditory Processing Disorder
While not everyone with APD / CAPD will exhibit all behaviours the following are some examples of behaviours that may be displayed by children or adults who have CAPD / APD:
- Noticeable speech delays
- Inattentive or easily distracted
- Bothered by loud or sudden noises
- Struggle to hear in crowded, noisy places
- Difficulty following verbal directions
- Difficulty following multi-step directions
- Difficulty following long conversations
- Delay in processing input, elaboration or output
- Difficulty hearing conversations on the telephone
- Reading, spelling, writing or language difficulties
- Difficulties in understanding abstract information
- Difficulty taking notes
- Improved ability when in quieter settings or one to one interactions
Processing auditory information goes beyond just hearing. It involves the brain’s ability to sort through the sounds and make sense of all the incoming information. It also requires the ability to effectively separate meaningful messages from the non-essential background sounds and deliver that information with good clarity to the brain. Put simply, “it is what the brain does with what the ear hears” (Katz 1994). Those with APD / CAPD have difficulty attending to, storing, locating, retrieving, and/or clarifying auditory information to make it useful for academic and social purposes. Poor auditory processing can have a negative impact on language acquisition, behaviour and social or academic performance.
Where this process does not work well, distorted information will be received. The extra effort required of a person to make sense of this distorted input can lead to tiredness and, in more severe cases, to ‘tuning out’ or ‘switching off’ and retreating into their own world. They may sometimes behave as if they have a hearing loss.
Can Auditory Processing Difficulties be helped?
Our experience is yes and that Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) helps train the brain to interpret better what the ears hear.