Auditory Processing Disorder
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a hearing problem which occurs not in the ears but in the hearing pathways or hearing centres of the brain. The ears may process sound normally, and the person may pass ordinary hearing tests, but the brain has difficulty interpreting what is heard.
APD is not a specific learning difficulty but a processing disorder. The brain does not process what it hears correctly. This can impact at home and in the classroom with not being able to keep up with the speed of verbal information spoken or remembering the verbal information given. They can also struggle to process verbal information if there is background noise.
Common signs of APD
Children with APD are usually of normal intelligence and pass standard hearing tests, but they sometimes have difficulty understanding what they hear. A child with APD will typically exhibit some of the following signs.
- difficulty comprehending spoken language unless brief, clear and simple
- hearing difficulty against other background sound
- poor listening skills
- slowness in processing spoken information
- poor auditory memory (difficulty attending to and remembering spoken information)
Other possible signs include
- insensitivity to tone of voice or other nuances of speech
- sensitivity to excessive auditory stimulation (eg noisy situations)
- extreme tiredness after school
- problems with comprehension, language, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, reading or written language
How common is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Research states that APD affects 2-3% of the population.
Other issues that can co-exist
APD can co-exist with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dysgraphia.
For more information visit the SoundSkills website.
Hear For Families APD Support Group: A national support group for people living with APD has been established. It is called Hear For Families. This group is based in Auckland but may be able to help with any questions you have. New members are very welcome. Contact email is or see their page on facebook