Chetna Foundation (Autism Institute of Training and Research)
Supporting People with Auditory Processing Disorder
July 15, 2022 / By Dr. Santosh Kumar

Supporting People with Auditory Processing Disorder

If you have a child who is battling with an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), you most likely have many questions. Furthermore, the biggest question of all is what can we do to help them? We have heard it over and over from concerned parents.

It can be very frustrating. You know your child can hear, but some of the times it seems like they cannot. This is what can happen in a child with Auditory Processing Disorder.

At the point when we listen, we don’t just depend on our ears to identify sound, but also in our brain to involve acoustic signs in the environment, and perceive these to get a handle on the data our ears have received. This interaction is called ‘Auditory Processing’.

APD is a difficulty to transform acoustic sounds into usable data. This often prompts different challenges and sometimes mimics a hearing loss. These difficulties affect patients of all ages.

In a child or adult with APD, the brain does not perceive and interpret sounds accurately – particularly the sounds that make up speech. The individual might seem to have an auditory deficit, yet by and large, hearing isn’t the issue. It’s like there is a distinction somewhere close to the ears and the brain. They can hear what we say, but just cannot always process it.

A person will have to be seen for a hearing assessment to rule out hearing difficulties before being assessed for APD. This does not mean that the individual with a hearing loss wouldn’t have additional processing difficulties. In reality it is vice-versa, a person who has been exposed to a low level of auditory stimulation during their early years because of glue ear or a conductive loss, he or she is very likely to have auditory processing needs in the future.

There are three types of APD:

Acquired APD

These hearing and processing difficulties are related with a known clinical or environmental cause (for example injury, sickness, general aging, noise damage or brain lesions).

Secondary APD

This kind of processing difficulty is associated with a hearing loss. This could be either a permanent hearing loss, temporary or fluctuating hearing issue such as glue ear or normal ear infections.

Developmental APD

This sort of APD presents as a listening difficulty but with no other known contributing factors other than a family background of developmental communication and associated disorders. Patients often continue to have similar types of difficulties from childhood to throughout their adulthood.

The symptoms of APD can go from mild to severe and may appear to be unique from one individual to another. This disorder is diagnosed by an audiologist, but the person who has APD may show up the following characteristics:

• Has difficulty in following directions

• The person might appear to be inattentive or may be easily distracted

• Might struggle to hear in crowded, noisy places

• Might have noticeable speech delays

• May frequently ask the person talking to them to repeat

• Might seem to have heard others when they haven’t

Few general management strategies parents can do to help a person with APD:

• Give lot of attention, show that they are cared and loved, and ensure that the surroundings are quiet before giving instructions.

• Always position them in the front wherever possible.

• Reduce background noise wherever possible.

• Be prepared to repeat what you say.

• Encourage eye-contact while listening.

• Pause regularly.

• Use an animated speech style. An animated speech style helps individuals with APD listen and pick out key words.

Symptoms and difficulties will change from person to person. Although there is no specific cure for most of these difficulties, there are a plethora of strategies which might help with listening and processing.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing APD, contact Chetna Foundation. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any further queries on Auditory Processing Disorder.