Central auditory processing disorder

Central auditory processing disorder affects about 5% of school-aged children. Children with the disorder can’t process what they hear in the same way as other children. Their ears and brain don’t coordinate fully.

CAPD testing is appropriate for children who have normal hearing but have difficulty listening in noisy environments e.g. a classroom where the teacher’s voice can blend into the general noise in the classroom. A child can have attention problems, memory issues, and difficulty with spelling, maths and reading.

Does your child struggle to understand speech?

Children with CAPD can hear sounds if they are delivered one at a time in a quiet environment. The difficulty arises when there is background noise, which is common at school and even at home. They may experience problems differentiating between slight differences in words.

What are the symptoms?

Do you think your child is having trouble processing sounds and speech? Here are some of the symptoms of APD – they may be mild or severe.

Does your child find noisy situations upsetting?

Is your child calmer or better behaved in quiet environments?

Does your child have problems with speech, writing or reading?

Does your child find it difficult to follow conversations?

Is your child easily distracted in noisy settings?

If you think your child might be experiencing difficulties hearing, it is important to book an exam with an audiologist – only audiologists can diagnose CAPD.

Early Diagnosis

The test procedure takes 1.5 to 2 hours to administer to a child or adult. If fatigue is an issue then the test can be spaced out over 2 sessions.  Breaks are recommended and we advise a snack and drink to give the child a rest periodically. The hearing test and memory tests are performed first, followed by the auditory processing tests. All tests are conducted by an experienced audiologist.  It is important that a comprehensive test battery is given to fully assess different areas of auditory processing skills in children.

Diagnostic CAPD testing is suitable from the age of 7 years through to adult age. Most children can cope with the test protocol by the age of 7 years.  Proper diagnosis of CAPD can make an important contribution to a child’s learning capacity, especially if further training is recommended.  Please contact our clinic for further information if needed.

Strategies to Help

Here are some strategies that can really help children with CAPD:

  • Try to reduce background noise when you can
  • Teach your child to look at you when you speak
  • Try speaking more slowly and slightly louder than normal
  • Make sure your child has a quiet place to study
  • Organise seating plans at school so your child can sit at the front of the classroom