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The Basics of Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is a hearing disorder in which the trouble lies not with the ears, but with the brain. The person with Central Auditory Processing Disorder hears sounds correctly but something adversely affects the way their brain recognizes and interprets the sounds, especially the sounds associated with speech. The disorder is thus characterized by a lack of coordination between the ears and the brain.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder is a condition that afflicts an estimated 2% to 5% of children of school age, and as many as 50% of children who have been diagnosed as having a learning disability. Children with Central Auditory Processing Disorder often fail to recognize subtle differences between the sounds of different words, even though the words are clear and loud enough for them to hear. The problem is worsened with background noise and in some cases of Central Auditory Processing Disorder the child can hear well in quite environments and only has difficulty in noisy environments.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder is often difficult to detect, because when children’s hearing is tested in a quiet room, they can clearly hear the pure tones they hear through the testing equipment, and they similarly have no apparent problems hearing and interpreting speech in non-noisy environments. As a result, their audiogram results may appear normal, but they may nevertheless have difficulties distinguishing similar words, locating where sounds are coming from, recognizing repetitive patterns in high and low sounds, or hearing more than one person’s voice at a time.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder often affects children in other aspects of life because they are having trouble understanding the people speaking around them. For example, they may become easily distracted by sudden noises, have difficulty following directions, develop reading, spelling, and language difficulties, become disorganized and forgetful, or have trouble following conversations. When given standard hearing tests, these children appear to have normal hearing, so these symptoms are often confused with or mistaken for signs of other problems such as depression or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In reality, CAPD can be present alone or combined with these other disorders, presenting a difficult diagnostic challenge.

Early detection of CAPD is critical, because to ensure the child’s proper social and educational development, the sooner the problems are diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated. So if you have noticed in your children any of the possible signs of CAPD listed above, it is important to have their hearing tested by experienced professionals.

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 16th, 2013 at 2:13 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.