Auditory Processing Skills: Critical for all Stages of Life!
Auditory processing has been referred to as "what we do with what we hear". Our ears bring in the sounds of our world while our brains work to make sense of what we have heard. This is done in large part through a complex network of auditory neurons, or "pathways". These auditory pathways help us do many things, such as localize where sounds are coming from and sort out important information from background noise.
An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is really an umbrella term that describes various sub-types of disordered auditory processing that a person may experience. Auditory processing skills include listening to the information (auditory attention), analyzing the sound or word (auditory decoding or discrimination), attaching meaning according to the rules of language (auditory association), pulling everything into a whole that can be used (integration), and organizing and producing a response (auditory output-organization). An auditory processing disorder is a deficit in two or more areas recognized as auditory procesing skills.
What are the Symptoms?
- Difficulty with hearing or listening ability
- Difficulty following directions
- Distractibility in background noise
- Inattentiveness or short attention span
- Poor or inconsistent memory for auditory information
- Problems in spelling words that are dictated
- Needs frequent repetition
- Asks "What?" or"Huh"? a lot
- "Selective hearing", or inconsistent response to sound
- Hears but doesn't understand
- Delayed or inappropriate response to verbal questions
- Functions as if there is a mild hearing loss despite normal hearing sensitivity
- Bothered by loudness or other 'sound sensitivities'
- Reading or spelling problems
- Language disorder
- History of head injury or Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Presence of Attention Deficit Disorder (the two disorders often co-exist)
- History of chronic otitis media (middle ear fluid), history of risk factors for central nervous system dysfunction such as asphyxia, hyperbilirubinemia, meningitis, hydrocephalus, or seizure disorder
- History of stroke
Who can be tested for Auditory Processign Disorder?c
Any one who suspects a problem may be tested for an auditory procesing disorder. The challenges one experiences may be due to an auditory processing deficit, a hearing loss, or both. At Auditory Pathways our approach is to offer early identification with early intervention to ensure best possible outcomes. We also suggest that adults with listening difficulties consider an auditory processing assessment. Neuroscience has shown us that auditory/listenting training, regardless of age, can be highly effective!
In accordance with the Canadian Academy of Audiology Guidelines for Central Auditory Processing Assessment for Children and Adults (2012), a formal diagnosis of an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) cannot be made until age 7 years or older.
However, it is possible to determine if your child's auditory skill development is on track through the administration of research-based standardized testing for children as young as 4 years of age. If their auditory skill development is found to be delayed, then specific early intervention strategies can be developed and implemented to help your child's auditory skills improve.
As we mature through adulthood and into old age, our auditory processing skills continue to change with each decade of life, generally beginning to decline in the 5th or 6th decades. Testing for adults is completed with specialized test materials that can take into account the degree of hearing loss, if present.
Our clients enjoy a welcome change from the typical medical office by receiving professional services and support in a comfortable home-based setting. Services are also available via a secure telemedicine format.
In addition to diagnostic testing we offer listening therapy, hypnotherapy, and solution-focused counselling for individuals and families to assist them with the many challenges associated with their auditory processing or auditory perception/sound sensitivity disorder.
Located in Stouffville, Ontario, we are within easy access from the GTA and the York-Durham region.
A complimentary 20-minute consultation can be arranged to discuss you or your child's unique situation. Let's connect and explore what is possible!
Deborah O'Sullivan, B.Sc., M.A., Au.D.
Doctor of Audiology, Reg. CASLPO
Clinical Hypnotherapy and Solution-Focused Counselling