Auditory processing disorder affects people of all ages. Many cases start in childhood, although it sometimes can develop in adults.

What Causes Auditory Processing Disorder?

Exactly what causes auditory processing disorder isn't fully understood. Sometimes a possible underlying factor is identified, but not always.

In children, the condition may occur after a persistent hearing problem at a young age, such as glue ear, which has since passed but has had a permanent effect on how the brain processes sound. It may also be caused by a genetic defect, as some cases seem to run in families.

In adults and children, the condition may be associated with damage to the brain from a head injury, stroke, brain tumour or meningitis.

Some cases in adults have also been linked to age-related changes in the ability of the brain to process sounds and progressive conditions affecting the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis.