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Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Does your child experience any of the following difficulties?

  • Struggles to hear in background noise?
  • Problems following fast speech or accents?
  • Can’t concentrate unless the room is very quiet
  • Doesn’t remember longer instructions
  • Often daydreams
  • Regularly misunderstands or mishears what is being said to them

These are all common symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder or APD. This is a condition in which a child’s outer, middle and inner ear all work normally but the auditory part of their brain has difficulty with processing or understanding the information it has received. This makes tasks such as separating different sounds that are happening at the same time or listening to long instructions extremely difficult. It is thought that 5-10% of children are affected by this disorder. In a complex listening environment like a noisy classroom it is common for children with APD to feel anxious or fall behind academically because they are unable to process important information from their teacher.


How is APD diagnosed?

Your James Hearing specialist will conduct a battery of tests with you and your child to formulate a diagnosis of APD and then advise on treatment and management as appropriate. The assessment will comprise of:

  • APD interview – this ascertains four things: suitability for referral for testing, psychoacoustic basis for APD, cognitive basis for APD, and any probable psychological factors
  • Speech in Noise testing
  • Listening test

How is APD treated?

Advice and guidance on improving communication tactics is key to managing APD. Recommendations and strategies will provided to help the teacher, improve the listening/acoustic environment or carrying out auditory training exercises with your child.


Personal FM systems are often a successful way of treating APD. This is when the child wears a small hearing system which routes the teachers voice directly into the child’s ear to overcome the difficulties of hearing across a noisy classroom.