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Diagnosis Of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) From A Dr. Of Audiology

Diagnosis Of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) From A Dr. Of Audiology

The ability to hear and process sound is an ability many people take for granted. Those who struggle with an auditory processing disorder (APD) have intact hearing structures but have a hard time understanding the sounds they hear.

There are variations on how much an individual is affected by APD, so it is necessary to be tested to know what options you have for optimal care.

Who Is Affected By APD

Both children and adults are affected by APD. If the disorder is recognized early in life, it will be easier for affected children to adapt compared to receiving a diagnosis in adulthood.

How exactly someone develops APD isn’t known. It is supposed that it can be a disorder one develops in vitro or it can be developed via trauma such as:

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Head trauma
  • Lead poisoning

It is suspected that boys are twice as likely to suffer from APD than girls. However, studies on APD are still fairly scarce, so much of what is known about APD is still under investigation.

Symptoms Of APD

There are several key indicators that an individual will display when struggling with APD. An audiologist will look for:

  • Ability to sequence – A person with APD typically struggles to understand and recall the order of words and sounds. The speaker may say “876” but the person with APD may write “687” in response.
  • Memory retention – A person with APD may struggle with recalling verbal information, whether you ask them immediately after speaking or at a later time.
  • Sound discrimination – People are bombarded with sound on a daily basis. However, someone with APD may find that they cannot process what you say if there is anything other than absolute silence.

Receiving A Diagnosis Of APD

While a speech-language pathologist or school psychologist may assess a child’s receptive language and listening comprehension, only an audiologist can perform the tests necessary to diagnose APD. It is recommended that parents wait until their child is around 7-8 years old before having them tested for APD.

The tests will be conducted in a soundproof room so that the patient isn’t distracted by background noises. From there, the audiologist will conduct a series of listening-response based tests to determine not only if the patient has APD but to what extent it affects them.

Living With APD

Depending on how old the patient is, there are several options for how to help someone with their auditory processing disorder.

If the person is a child, an audiologist may recommend:

  • Quiet rooms for test-taking
  • Assistive technology (child has sound-proof headphone and teacher with mic)
  • Special instruction (tutor or an IEP)

Children and adults with APD may be recommended to have:

  • Speech therapy
  • Reading instruction

While the audiologist will not be able to cure someone’s APD, working with them will reduce symptoms to a manageable level where it will no longer interfere with daily activities.

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