A central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), also known simply as an auditory processing disorder (APD), is a deficit in the neural processing of both speech and non-speech auditory stimuli that is not the result of a higher order issue (ex. language or cognitive deficit).
There are a variety of areas of possible deficit associated with auditory processing disorders including: sound localization, discrimination between auditory stimuli, difficulty recognizing auditory patterns, difficulty processing the temporal (or timing) aspects of sound, difficulty understanding rapid speech, difficulty listening in noise, etc. It is important to be aware that other disorders, such as attention-deficit disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, visual processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairments, and cognitive delays (ex. learning delays and dyslexia), may present with similar difficulties as CAPD. Some of the most common complaints or signs of a CAPD are difficulty hearing in noisy environments, frequently having to ask for repetition, difficulty following verbal instructions, easily distracted by or sensitive to loud sounds, has poor listening skills or is a “selective listener”, and may have difficulty in school.
For children and adults suspected of having a CAPD there is special testing to evaluate auditory processing used in conjunction with case history information and questionnaires. This testing is normed for children 8 and up, therefore the youngest age we can evaluate for CAPD is 8 years old. Children under the age of 8 are still developing their language and auditory processing skills which makes it more difficult to diagnose a true CAPD in a child that young. In addition to being 8 or older, it is necessary that the person also have normal hearing (thresholds between -10 and 25 dB HL) in both ears. The first step before completing a CAPD evaluation is confirming normal hearing sensitivity with a hearing test. For a person diagnosed with CAPD there are several forms of management including use of compensatory strategies, environmental modifications, and brain-training games targeted at specific auditory processing deficits. In some cases, hearing devices may be of benefit, either in the form of an FM System or hearing aids with advanced noise reduction technology.
If you have questions about CAPD or are interested in scheduling an appointment, please request to speak with the audiologist directly when contacting our office. Due to the extra time and equipment requirements for the evaluation, she does the scheduling herself- the front desk staff cannot schedule this type of appointment for you.