Auditory processing refers to the way your ears communicate with your brain – or more simply put, what your brain does with what it ‘hears’. An auditory processing disorder can directly affect your child’s ability to hear, understand, learn and speak.
Does my child have an auditory processing disorder?
To check if your child has an auditory processing disorder, answer the questions below:
- Does your child find it difficult to follow verbal instructions?
- Does your child need you to frequently repeat verbal instructions?
- Does your child find it difficult to hear in background noise?
- Is your child easily distracted and inattentive?
- Does your child find it hard to recall events or take notes?
- Does your child find it difficult to understand fast talkers or unfamiliar accents?
- Does your child experience reading, writing or spelling difficulties?
- Does your child seem to have hearing loss when you know they don’t have a hearing loss?
If you answered yes to a significant number of the following questions, your child may have an auditory processing disorder. If your child presents some, or even all of these characteristics, it does not automatically mean he or she has an auditory processing disorder. A diagnosis can only be made after undergoing a comprehensive auditory processing assessment.
What happens in an auditory processing assessment?
In an auditory processing assessment, our qualified audiologists will perform a series of tests to determine if your child can listen to speech in the presence of background noise, detect subtle differences in sounds and fill in missing parts of words. In these tests your child will simply have to indicate if they can hear certain sounds or speech. To participate in an auditory processing assessment your child must be able to communicate and understand language, have normal hearing and be 6 years of age or older.
In an auditory processing assessment your qualified audiologist will also obtain an extensive case history of the child and perform a hearing test to rule out hearing loss. Auditory processing assessments can take up to two hours to perform.
What happens if you have an auditory processing disorder?
If your child has an auditory processing disorder our qualified audiologists will help you employ a number of effective strategies to manage your child's condition. These strategies will help you maximize your existing listening skills while also encouraging you to develop of new skills.
These strategies can be separated into three main categories:
Environmental strategies. Environmental strategies focus on adapting the listening environment to make speech louder than the noise. This is achieved through the use of assistive listening device, preferential classroom seating and reducing other noises by modifying the rooms’ acoustics.
Compensatory strategies. These strategies are designed to offset and reduce the effect of an auditory processing disorder. This is achieved by encouraging the development of listening skills, modifying the manner in which instructions are given and using external aids such as notebooks or calendars to review past material whilst gradually moving to new concepts.
Direct intervention. These strategies consist of listening programs that will focus on helping your child hear the differences in sounds or words, learn to listen to speech in the presence of background noise and teach your child to use rhythm and tones to facilitate understanding.
If your audiologist diagnoses your child with an auditory processing disorder, they will discuss a range of strategies to help your child and best meet their individual needs.
If you think your child has an auditory processing disorder, call 1800 054 667 to book an appointment with our specialist pediatric audiologists. We are dedicated to helping your child find the best hearing solution.