Overview

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a hearing or listening problem caused by the brain not processing sounds in the normal way.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a hearing or listening problem caused by the brain not processing sounds in the normal way.

It can affect your ability to:

  • Pinpoint where a sound is coming from.
  • Tell which sound comes before another.
  • Distinguish similar sounds from one another – such as "seventy" and "seventeen".
  • Understand speech – particularly if there's background noise, more than one person speaking, the person is speaking quickly, or the sound quality is poor.
  • Remember instructions you've been told.
  • Enjoy music.

 

Children with the problem may also have difficulty responding to sounds, understanding things they're told, concentrating, and expressing themselves with speech. Their reading and spelling may also be affected.

Many people find the condition becomes less of an issue over time as they develop the skills to deal with it. Children may need extra help and support at school, but they can be just as successful as their classmates.

Who is Affected?

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

Children with auditory processing disorder may have noticeable problems from a very young age, although sometimes the symptoms might not be obvious or only become apparent later on when they start school, college, university or a new job.

It's not clear exactly how many people have auditory processing disorder, but it's thought up to 1 in every 20 children may have it to some degree.