What is Central Auditory Processing?
Central Auditory Processing refers to the way our brain uses information it receives from our ears (or stated differently what our brain does with what it ‘hears’). The central auditory processes necessary for normal hearing and processing include the ability to:
- Determine the location of a sound (localization and lateralization)
- Discriminate differences between sounds
- Recognize auditory patterns in speech
- Recognize temporal aspects of audition
- Understand in the presence of competing acoustic signals
- Understand degraded acoustic signals
A Central Auditory Processing Disorder is an observed deficiency in one or more of the auditory behaviours given above
What are the symptoms (or behavioural characteristics) of a Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?
Children (or adults) with CAPD have difficulty in a number of listening areas. A child with CAPD could exhibit some, none, or all of the behavioural characteristics listed below:
- Difficulty understanding spoken language in the presence of background noise or in the presence of competing speech
- Misunderstanding what is being said
- Inconsistent or inappropriate responding
- Frequent requests for repetition, saying “what” or “huh” frequently
- Difficulty with information presented orally
- Difficulty paying attention
- Easily distracted by auditory input (for e.g., sounds coming from outside a classroom)
- Difficulty following complex auditory directions or commands
- Difficulty knowing where sounds are coming from (localization)
- Difficulty learning songs or nursery rhymes
- Poor musical and singing skills
- Associated reading, spelling and reading problems
- Poor academic performance
Central auditory processing is a complex area. The Audiology Profession’s understanding of the condition and the most appropriate rehabilitation options is ongoing and continues to develop.
This practice offers comprehensive Central Auditory Processing Testing and makes recommendations for management. As part of this process it works closely with speech language therapists and psychologists and in the case of children also with teachers and parents.
The signs and symptoms of an Auditory Processing Disorder are often very similar to those of individuals with hearing loss. Therefore the first step is to schedule an appointment for a hearing test during which the need and appropriateness of a CAPD evaluation will also be assessed.
American Speech Language and Hearing Association (2005). (Central) Auditory Processing Disorders [Technical Report].
Wayne J. Wilson, PhD, University of Queensland, Australia (Various publications and sources)
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