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Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder

Children and adults can have normal hearing sensitivities, yet still experience hearing difficulties, particularly in competing noise environment. They can hear all the words however fail to understand the conversation. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) simply refers to difficulty processing what we hear.

Children and adults referred for APD assessment typically have a normal audiogram but present with characteristics that may include:

  • Difficulty hearing spoken language in the background of other sounds, including speech (the most common presenting complaint).
  • Difficulty hearing in reverberant acoustic environments, or when speech is rapidly presented or degraded in some way.
  • Mishearing speech and similar sounding words (‘shoulder’ versus ‘soldier’).
  • Responding inconsistently or inappropriately to spoken language and auditory information.
  • Taking longer to process spoken language and auditory information.
  • Frequent requests for repetition.
  • Difficulty hearing on the phone.
  • Poor attention to and/or memory of spoken language and instructions.
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The complete Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) assessment comprises two parts: The full diagnostic audiological assessment and the Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) test batteries. If normal hearing sensitivity is confirmed after 1-hour diagnostic audiological assessment, the Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) test batteries will proceed.

The overall assessment will take 2-3 hours, depending on the age of the patient. The assessment can be divided into two separate appointments if needed.

Any available diagnostic reports (e.g. SLT, Educational Psych, etc) should be provided to an audiologist prior to the APD assessment, to ensure an accurate diagnosis of APD

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Intervention

Following the APD assessment, if the weakness(es) in auditory experience is identified, communicative strategies will be provided. When the auditory therapy/training and assistive listening devices (e.g. personal FM system) are applicable in improving the auditory weakness(es), they can also be advised in the clinic.

Recent research has shown the benefits and improvements from the auditory therapy/training programmes on patients with APD symptoms. Due to neuroplasticity (i.e. the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections), the auditory weakness(es) can improve over time should the appropriate therapies be applied. The auditory therapy/training programmes are often web-based and can be administered at home by patients themselves, usually 2-3 time a week. The progress of the web-based auditory training programme is monitored by the clinician. Regular feedback will be given.

For the younger children presented with APD symptoms, in-person therapies can be provided in clinic. Parents will also be given guidance on a regular basis or whenever it is required.

The auditory therapy/training programmes available are Zoo Caper Skyscraper (Acoustic Pioneer), Insane Airplane (Acoustic Pioneer), CAPDOTS, LACE, Angel Sounds, etc.

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