Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory processing disorders can be peripheral or central. Hearing loss is the common terminology for a peripheral auditory processing disorder. It's the focus of a typical hearing test. Hearing loss can result from mechanical dysfunction of the outer or middle ear; heredity, virus, Meniere's, autoimmunity, and toxins; as well as loud noise exposure and trauma. When we think of hearing loss we think of hearing aids.

However, it's possible to have hearing difficulty even if you don't have hearing loss. Are you able to clearly hear what someone is saying in background noise? Do you have difficulty remembering things you hear? Do you have a hard time concentrating in background noise? Hearing is a complex process that involves more than just the ear and auditory nerve. It involves the brainstem and brain, too. It involves central auditory processing!

Normal central auditory processing helps us listen. CAPD is a deficiency in the interpretation of auditory information. In addition to difficulty in background noise, symptoms can include forgetfulness, inattentiveness, problems with reading and writing, difficulty following verbal instructions, and many more. CAPD can occur at any age and is sometimes associated with brain or brainstem development problems, trauma (head/brain or neck injury), tumors, Multiple Sclerosis, degenerative disorders like dementia, and spectrum disorders like Asperger's.

EAR Audiology specializes in the assessment and management of CAPD in adults. This disorder is commonly identified in childhood because its signs can resemble those of ADHD. However, CAPD is also common in adults; Cooper and Gates (1991) estimated that up to 20% of adults have CAPD. Management of CAPD can be accomplished using three primary methods: 1) environmental changes, 2) assistive listening devices, and 3) auditory training. Contact EAR Audiology for this specialized testing and treatment. Even if you wear hearing aids, auditory training can improve your ability to hear speech in noise.