Auditory Processing Disorder:

Difficulty With Speech and Hearing

 APD is usually misunderstood or confused with another condition because its symptoms are quite similar to those found in other disorders.

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a condition that affects the ability to process and understand sounds. It can be difficult for people with APD to understand speech, even when it is being said at a normal volume.  APD not only affects children; adults can also be diagnosed with auditory processing disorder. 

Understanding Auditory Processing Disorder

APD is usually misunderstood or confused with another condition because its symptoms are quite similar to those found in other disorders.

Diagnosis is very critical when it comes to auditory processing disorder because its symptoms are very similar to learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), speech-language delays, autism or depression.

Causes of Auditory Processing Disorder

In most cases, the cause of auditory processing disorder is unknown. However, evidence suggests that individuals who have head trauma, lead poisoning, chronic ear infections or seizure disorder are more at risk in developing auditory processing disorder.


APD may also be linked to the following:

Illness APD can manifest after meningitis, chronic ear infections, meningitis or lead poisoning. People who have nervous system conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, may also develop auditory processing disorder.

Premature birth or low birth weight

Head injury

Genes – this condition may run in the family.

Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder

A person with auditory processing disorder may manifest the following symptoms:

  • difficulties identifying consonants
  • trouble discriminating between similar-sounding words like ‘beat’ versus ‘bit’
  • confusion when listening from one ear only (monaural)
  • inability to understand rapid verbal exchanges, especially those involving complex syntax structures

Take note that auditory memory deficits, sound sensitivity and auditory attention problems are not symptoms of APD. Since the symptoms of auditory processing disorder are known to be associated with numerous conditions, it’s highly recommended to see an audiologist and other related specialists to better understand these conditions and get the proper intervention.

Diagnosing Auditory Processing Disorder

Diagnosis and treatment of auditory processing disorder has become a hot topic in recent years because it’s been found to have an impact on one’s behavior and productivity at work or school. It is important for people with this disorder to seek help as soon as possible before the problem worsens.

To diagnose auditory processing disorder, the most common method is to use a specific group of listening tests.

Diagnosis should be done by an audiologist or a hearing professional. Several tests will be performed; perception of sound may be tested and questionnaires may also be provided to assess the level of difficulty in understanding speech and other tasks.

In-depth tests may also check the reading comprehension levels and memory because these can be affected by auditory processing disorder if left untreated.

Children below 7 years old are not tested for auditory processing disorder because their responses to listening tests may not be accurate.

If you notice that you or a family member is having trouble understanding or hearing people when they talk, seek medical attention from an audiologist. Audiologists can diagnose auditory processing disorder and can help map out interventions. An audiologist can also refer you to another specialist for other symptoms as needed.

Auditory Processing Disorder Massachusetts

While auditory processing disorder usually starts in childhood, people of all ages can still have APD.  Children who have auditory processing disorder need to have appropriate and timely intervention to avoid learning delays.  Auditory processing disorder is usually linked to other conditions that have similar symptoms.

This disorder is also suspected to be one of the reasons why people have dyslexia.  Only an audiologist or a hearing specialist can diagnose auditory processing disorder.  Proper and timely diagnosis is key in managing auditory processing disorder. Atlantic Hearing Care offers testing for auditory processing disorder in the Massachusetts area. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

The first step towards better hearing health is an appointment with our expert staff. Contact us today:

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990 Paradise Rd, Suite 3A
Swampscott, MA 01907


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Peabody, MA 01960


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