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Our Auditory Processing Assessments

Our Auditory Processing Assessments can be performed on ages 5 and up. Aditee’s experience with children will equip her to do decide the appropriate assessment for them.

Auditory processing describes how the brain recognises and interprets the sounds around you. A (central) auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is the problem with the way the sounds heard by the ear are being understood by the brain. People with auditory processing disorder typically have normal hearing, but present with difficulty hearing in background noise, exhibit poor listening skills, misunderstand spoken messages, struggle to follow oral instructions and pay attention to name a few.

In children, auditory processing difficulties can affect their ability to read, write and spell, as well as pose learning difficulties. CAPD can be confused with or co-exist with other conditions, such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum disorder, language impairment and learning difficulties.

We have a steady flow of different sounds entering our ears. For those without an auditory processing disorder, these sounds seamlessly move along the auditory nerve into the brainstem where they start to be filtered and sorted, and then into the auditory cortex (the part of the brain that is specialised to process sound). The auditory cortex exchanges information with other parts of the brain, including our frontal lobe that directs attention, and anything that is deemed useful (such as an instruction from a teacher or parent) is emphasised. Anything else, such as background noise of others talking, music or noise from traffic, for example, is filtered out and discarded.

Once the important sound is processed by the brain and a response is prepared, you can verbalise that response, or take action in another way. In doing so, you show the person speaking to you that you have heard, processed and understood what they have said to you.

Those with an auditory processing disorder receive the same sounds but process them differently. Instead of picking out the important instruction within the collection of sounds, the filtering system allows other sounds to pass through. This could be the words that children sitting around you are saying, or a lyric from music playing in the room. Now, it is much harder for the brain to work out which sounds are the important ones, in turn making it much harder for the child to prepare an appropriate response.

It’s easy to see how this could be interpreted as a child not hearing in the first place, when actually they are “hearing” all the sounds, but are unable to process those sounds in a meaningful way.

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