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Auditory Processing Disorders: By Age Group

Processing Disorder - Central Auditory Processing

What You Should Know About Auditory Processing Disorders

  • Auditory processing disorders are often referred to as central auditory processing disorders (CAPD);
  • Auditory processing disorders can occur without any kind of hearing loss;
  • Auditory processing disorders affect how the brain perceives and processes what the ear hears;
  • Like all learning disabilities, auditory processing disorders can be a lifelong challenge;
  • Many of the difficulties that are experienced by people with auditory processing disorders are also common to people with attention deficit disorders;
  • Auditory processing disorders may run in families;
  • Auditory processing disorders can affect a person’s ability to interact socially;
  • There are different types of auditory processing disorders, each affecting different aspects of auditory information processing—see “Auditory Processing Disorders” for more information.

Auditory Processing Disorders at Different Ages

Many people experience problems with learning and behavior from time to time, but if a person consistently displays difficulties with these tasks over time, testing for auditory processing disorders by trained professionals should be considered.

Early Childhood

Common difficulties include

  • Learning to speak;
  • Understanding spoken language;
  • Separating meaningful sounds from background noise;
  • Remembering stories or songs;
  • Staying focused on a person’s voice;
  • Unusual sensitivity to noise;
  • Confusing similar sounding words;
  • Difficulty in understanding speech.

Accommodation and modification strategies

  • Keep directions simple—only tell your child one step at a time;
  • Give directions both orally and visually—show your child what you mean;
  • Speak slowly—especially when your child is hearing information for the first time;
  • Maintain eye contact while speaking;
  • Limit background noise when teaching new information or giving directions;
  • Provide specific opportunities to practice skills that build vocabulary, rhyming, segmenting and blending words.

School-Age Children

Common difficulties include

  • Remembering and following spoken directions;
  • Remembering people’s names;
  • Sounding out new words;
  • Seeming to ignore others when engrossed in a non-speaking activity;
  • Understanding people who speak quickly;
  • Finding the right words to use when talking.

Accommodation and modification strategies

  • Combine oral teaching with visual aids;
  • Ask that teachers and others make it physically, visually or audibly clear when they are about to begin something important so that nothing is missed;
  • Have a note-taking buddy who will make sure that information was understood;
  • Request seating close to teacher;
  • Have child repeat back information or instructions to build comprehension skills and make sure messages are understood correctly.

Teenagers and Adults

Common difficulties inlcude

  • Talks louder than necessary;
  • Remembering a list or sequence;
  • Often needs words or sentences repeated;
  • Poor ability to memorize information learned by listening;
  • Interprets words too literally;
  • Hearing clearly in noisy environments.
  • Accommodation and modification strategies
  • Find or request a quiet work space away from others.
  • Request written material when you attend oral presentations.
  • Ask for directions to be given one at a time, as you go through each step.
  • Take notes or use a tape recorder when getting any new information, even little things.

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