What are the symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 27, 2012

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Quick Bites

  • Symptoms of APD can range from mild to severe.
  • Your child may get easily distracted or unusually bothered.
  • They may behave and perform better in quieter settings.
  • They may have difficulty following directions.

Auditory processing (APD) is a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. Children with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even though the sounds themselves are loud and clear.

Symptoms of APD

Symptoms of APD can range from mild to severe and can take many different forms. If you think your child might have a problem processing sounds, consider these signs:

  • Your child easily gets distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises
  • Noisy environments upset your child
  • Your child's behaviour and performance improve in quieter settings
  • Your child has difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated
  • Your child has reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties
  • Abstract information is difficult for your child to comprehend
  • Verbal (word) math problems are difficult for your child
  • Your child is disorganized and forgetful
  • Conversations are hard for your child to follow
  • Certain strategies can help your child learn better and cope with the problem of APD.

Symptoms of APD



  • Show rather than explain
  • Supplement with more intact senses (use visual cues, signals, handouts, manipulatives)
  • Reduce or space directions, give cues such as “ready?”
  • Reword or help decipher confusing oral and/or written directions
  • Teach abstract vocabulary, word roots, and synonyms/antonyms
  • Vary pitch and tone of voice; alter pace, stress key words
  • Ask specific questions as you teach to find out if they do understand
  • Allow them 5-6 seconds to respond (“think time”)
  • Have the student constantly verbalize concepts, vocabulary words, rules, etc.

Once a diagnosis of APD is made, the nature of the disorder is determined. There are many types of auditory processing deficits and, because each child is an individual, APD may manifest itself in a variety of ways. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the type of auditory deficit a given child exhibits so that individualized management and treatment activities may be recommended that address his or her specific areas of difficulty.

In recent years, scientists have developed new ways to study the human brain through imaging. Imaging is a powerful tool that allows the monitoring of brain activity without any surgery. Imaging studies are already giving scientists new insights into auditory processing.

Image Courtesy: Getty

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