The incidence of central auditory processing disorders (CAPD) has been reported to be from one to six percent of school age children. CAPD is often referred to as simply auditory processing disorder (APD). By either name this is a problem which can cause significant problems with learning. An auditory processing disorder is defined as the inability to use information which the ears send to the brain. The exact cause of auditory processing disorders is not clearly understood. The earliest recognition of this problem was around 1950 when the VA was studying veterans who had brain injuries from war. Veterans who sustained significant damage to their temporal lobes reported significant hearing loss even though their ears were fine. Tests were developed which would show that when the auditory system was taxed with challenging stimuli, the patient would act as though they could not hear. Several tests were developed which correlated well with damage to different parts of the central auditory nervous system and now auditory processing disorders can effectively be evaluated, diagnosed and treated.

Fortunately, most people with central auditory processing disorders do not have brain lesions. For some reason it appears that the auditory system has not developed as it should have. Children with auditory processing disorders typically are not centrally deaf just like most people with hearing loss are not deaf. The early studies involving the veterans laid the ground work for working with CAPD (APD) today. In the early days not much could be done to help when a person was identified as having auditory processing deficits. Today therapy can offer significant help to improve auditory function. Basically therapy addresses the underlying auditory skills which are deficient.

Therapies used include: The Auditory Processing Studio App (and associated apps), Earobics, Fastforword, LACE, and auditory training using traditional and Verbotonal methods. Improvement can be seen if diligent effort is given. It is not possible to say how much change any given person can expect from treatment. Many people require extended treatment to reach maximum improvement. Some still have significant auditory processing issues which require the implementation of compensatory strategies to help them function well in school or the workplace.

In addition to therapy to help improve the underlying processing issues, new digital hearing aid technology which employs signal processing to enhance speech signals and down play background noise are also being studied to see what they can offer people with auditory processing disorders. The goal of these instruments is to try to improve the signal to noise ratio so that the speech signal "stands out" from other sounds. Other devices which fall in the domain of assistive listening devices are also used. These devices include FM auditory listening systems for classroom use. Other assistive devices are used for specific purposes such as listening to TV.


Auditory Processing Studio App

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Associated Issues

Many times children with auditory processing disorders also have other problems such as visual processing deficits.  When a child has both auditory and visual processing deficits, they can often be misdiagnosed as having attention deficit disorder.  The general idea is that if a child is sitting in a classroom and having trouble taking in information through hearing and vision, they very quickly get lost and appear to be unfocused.  This is not to say that ADD does not exist, but whenever a child is diagnosed with ADD and does not respond to that type of treatment, it may be a good idea to evaluate them for input (auditory and visual) processing disorders.  

Reading and spelling problems are also common issues children with auditory processing disorders display.  Programs such as Hooked On Phonics can provide training which helps to build the basic skills for better reading and spelling.  For more information on Hooked On Phonics click here.

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Posit Science is a leading provider of clinically validated brain training exercises. The company works with more than 50 scientists from prestigious universities to design and test its computer-based programs.  These 2 programs are designed to help you think faster, focus better, and remember more by increasing the speed at which you process information.

  • Brain Fitness Program Classic™-- for auditory processing and memory—improves the brain’s reception of what you hear.
  • InSight™-- for visual processing and memory-- improves the brain’s reception of what you see.

  • Train Your Brain Clinically Proven Brain Fitness Programs from Posit Science

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    Other resources for CAPD are listed below.  If you find another valuable book or resource, please email the information to us.  We want to evaluate and share good information to all.  Click on the links to be taken to them.

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    ADHD is the most common psychiatric disorder of childhood and its effects on the child can be seen in many areas of functional impairment, including:

    • Academic difficulties

    • Social problems

    • Higher incidence of risky behavior

    • Poor judgment

    • Increased risk for substance abuse

    • Family conflict

    • Anti-social behavior

    • Not being able to adequately perform their job.

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