Auditory Processing Disorders/Differences (APD)

Is that really a thing?

Why yes it is! We do not truly hearing with our ears – We hear with our brains!

When sound moves on through the brain via nerve cells, it weaves through many different regions of the brain and bridges connections throughout. You might be surprised by the connections and influences sound can have on the brain.

When a brain processed sound differently, often it is some pathways are underdeveloped while other pathways are stronger. Because the brain is extremely adaptable, we can provide exercises to improve the strength and efficiency of weaker paths.

Auditory Processing Disorders is an umbrella term for many different ways the brain can be making use of sound. While most people have a dominant ear, some can have one ear that is so dominant that the opposite ear is not able to process speech or help organize a noisy environment. Some people experience less distinction between pitches (ie keys on a keyboard), or are slower to pick up on changes in sound (on the order of milliseconds). While these may seem like very specific issues, each of these skills is important to developing an understanding of speech, and especially important for literacy development.

Because APD occurs in the brain and really results from a differently functioning brain, it can overlap heavily with Autism Spectrum, Dyslexia, ADHD, sensory processing difficulty, and other brain based developmental disorders. Recent research points toward a high rate of APD in children who experienced chronic ear infections or “fluid on the ear” early in life. It makes sense that inconsistent access to sound in the early years could contribute to less efficient processing of sound later.

At our office, Dr. C takes the lead on our APD evaluations, and utilizes a combination of iPad-based assessment and sound-booth based assessment in the Buffalo Model. These evaluations can be intense, and are sometimes spread over two visits. If you think you or your child might benefit from this type of assessment and the Auditory Training that can help improve day-to-day function, your first step is to set up a call with Dr. C to discuss if this testing may be helpful for you, and go over what to expect.

Here is a video of a well known APD diagnostician, therapist, and researcher who has APD herself.