If you, your child, or your loved one is having problems hearing, the problem may be neurological, not aural. Here’s what you need to know about APD or auditory processing disorder.
One issue is sometimes forgotten when talking about various types of hearing loss. There are actually four different types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, mixed, and auditory processing disorder, despite the fact that many websites only list three.
Since auditory processing disorder affects the brain rather than the ears or the auditory nerve, it is sometimes overlooked when talking about hearing loss. APD still causes hearing loss, and many APD sufferers are categorised as hard of hearing.
It can be challenging to distinguish between APD and other types of hearing loss without the right tests. We’ll talk about what distinguishes them in this post, along with how to spot the signs and get help.
What is auditory processing disorder hearing loss?
Auditory processing disorder is a type of hearing loss; however, it’s not the common sort. The ears are totally capable of receiving sound if no other hearing loss is present, but the brain has trouble decoding and comprehending it.
Hearing loss and auditory processing issues frequently coexist. Many people with auditory processing disorder also have sensorineural, auditory nerve, or conductive hearing loss; however, not all do. When the brain is not used to hearing anything, it frequently has trouble interpreting speech and other stimuli.
Because of this, a hearing test and examination are required to diagnose APD. A speech-language pathologist and an audiologist typically collaborate to identify and/or rule out APD.
Symptoms of APD hearing loss
Recognizing hearing loss usually involves noticing problems with someone’s hearing or understanding of sound. This includes:
- Difficulty understanding speech
- Asking people to repeat themselves often
- Problems following conversation
- Unable to hold a conversation in crowded places (cocktail party effect)
- Issues listening to or enjoying music
- Exhaustion or fatigue at the end of the day
The symptoms of APD are similar to hearing loss, but there are some symptoms that are more common in those with APD. These include:
- Difficulty remembering spoken instructions or information
- Mishearing words or sentences (“sit over there” becomes “fit on the chair”)
- Sensory overload (becoming overwhelmed or anxious when in noisy environments)
- Problems grasping nuances of speech (i.e. tone)
APD is frequently misdiagnosed as ADHD or dyslexia, particularly in children who have difficulty reading and writing. Children with auditory processing disorders are more obvious since they can affect how well they do in school.
This does not preclude the diagnosis of APD in adults, either. In reality, a lot of individuals with APD go untreated because they deny their symptoms, accuse themselves of being clumsy or stupid, or consciously try to suppress them.
As a result, it’s crucial to get a hearing test and examination if you suspect you have a hearing problem of any kind, including APD. Once you’ve been diagnosed, you can start getting better and seeking treatment.
Causes and prevention of APD hearing loss
There are numerous potential causes of APD, although it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause in each individual case. Auditory processing disorder is a neurological condition, as opposed to conductive or sensorineural hearing loss, where the cause is typically exposure to noise or obstructions. It might be challenging to determine an exact cause and treatment for APD, as it is with many other diseases.
However, we can offer some possible links between certain conditions and APD:
- Other types of hearing loss, like sensorineural or auditory nerve hearing loss. In children born hard of hearing, APD is common after they receive hearing aids.
- Traumatic head injuries may lead to the development of APD• APD can run in families
- Chronic ear infections and meningitis in childhood can cause APD.
- Lead poisoning increases the likelihood of APD.
factors connected to birth, such as early birth or low birth weight. APD can be hard to prevent because it is frequently brought on by outside forces. You or a loved one’s development of APD cannot be stopped by taking any particular steps. This illness frequently appears out of the blue, and pinpointing its origin can be challenging. It is advised to screen for APD as soon as possible in children who have a familial propensity for the disorder or whose medical history includes repeated ear infections or meningitis. They can get the support they need to succeed in school faster if the problem is detected as soon as possible. APD can make kids feel self-conscious, fall behind academically, and have trouble making friends if it is not treated.
Treatment of APD hearing loss
APD cannot be cured; however, therapy programmes and accommodations can help kids (and adults) cope with the condition and function in society.
It’s crucial to do a hearing test and assessment before APD can be treated. Additional therapy can be necessary if there is any other type of hearing loss. A youngster with sensorineural hearing loss, for instance, could need hearing aids before receiving APD treatment.
A therapy plan can be developed once the child has been identified or cleared of any underlying issues. Although not all treatment programmes are identical, many involve the following:
- Children who receive speech therapy are better able to identify sounds, carry on conversations, and develop social and academic skills.
- It is possible to enhance a child’s memory and problem-solving abilities to help them cope with APD and navigate the world.
- FM listening aids can aid a child’s concentration in school. They can speak in their “indoor voice” and prevent sensory overload while also being able to hear the teacher’s voice over background noise thanks to these devices.
- Both at home and in the classroom, accommodations can be made. For those with APD, covering hardwood floors, limiting the use of TVs and radios, and creating quiet spaces are all beneficial.
- Understanding is essential at any age. Never lose your cool when someone asks you to repeat yourself or chastises you for “not listening” to you. Always presume that someone who has APD is trying their best, and go out of your way to help them feel at ease and confident when speaking to you.
Finding a local audiologist is the first step in receiving a diagnosis if you believe that you, your child, or a loved one is experiencing APD.