You know your child is paying attention, but for some reason they just can’t seem to understand what you’re saying. They’re not just being kids – there may be a real problem.
Have you ever heard your child say things like:
- “I can’t understand what people are saying when it is noisy”
- “I hear, but I don’t understand.”
- “I can’t remember what I’m told- especially if it’s a lot of instructions.”
- “I have a terrible time trying to learn Spanish.”
- “I can’t seem to concentrate unless it’s very quiet in the room.”
- “If someone talks very quickly, I misunderstand what they say.”
These are common comments from children struggling with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).
APD affects about 5% of school-aged children. Children with APD are unable to process the sounds they hear the same way as other kids. This is due to an interruption in the brain when it distinguishes and interprets sounds, especially speech.
Here are some possible signs parents should look for:
- Difficulty understanding speech. This can be particularly frustrating in noisy backgrounds, reverberant environments, or if presented rapidly.
- Trouble following along in conversations. Following complex oral directions or commands can be especially difficult for some children.
- Inconsistent or inappropriate responding. They also may take longer to respond.
- Misunderstanding messages. Doesn’t detect sarcasm or jokes.
- Frequently needs things repeated. Says “huh” and “what” frequently.
- Easily distracted. Short attention span. Seems to daydream frequently.
- Problems localizing sound. Where is the sound coming from?
- Struggling academically. Imagine all of these possible obstacles and it’s no wonder a child may have trouble with grades.
This list of behavioral characteristics may also be present with other disorders such as language, attention, and intellectual impairments. There are many types of APD that cannot be diagnosed based solely on symptoms. Careful and appropriate testing is needed in order to accurately diagnose and treat APD. A multidisciplinary team approach is essential; however, only a trained audiologist can diagnose APD.
A trained audiologist will play a sequence of tests/sounds in a sound-booth. The patient will listen to a variation of signals and respond accordingly. It is required that a child be at least 7 years of age and have normal hearing sensitivity and IQ in order to be correctly diagnosed.
At this time there is no known cure for APD; however, with appropriate intervention, children can develop good listening, learning, and communication skills.
Woman’s Hospital is now start offering APD testing at the Woman’s Center for Wellness. To make an appointment, call 225-924-8450. Click here to learn more about Audiology services offered.