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Auditory Processing Disorder Testing

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a learning disability that affects the way a person processes sounds as they enter the ear and travel to the brain. APD develops in childhood, though it’s commonly diagnosed in teens and adults as well.

At least 5% of children suffer from APD, which can have detrimental effects on academic, behavioral and social development.

Auditory processing disorder in Louisiana patients is often misdiagnosed or overlooked. APD can have similar symptoms as ADHD and many other learning disorders. It can also seem like the child is hearing impaired, though hearing tests for APD patients come back as normal.

Causes and Signs of Auditory Processing Disorder

APD is a bit of a mystery in the healthcare world, and there’s even debate as to whether this condition exists. Audiologists understand that APD is a very real problem that affects children’s learning abilities, though we don’t always understand its causes. The latest research suggests that APD can be either a congenital problem children are born with or an acquired condition caused by factors such as lead poisoning, head trauma and chronic ear infections.


Every person with auditory processing disorder experiences the condition differently, so there are many symptoms that may or may not be present. Some of the more commonly seen signs of APD include:

  • Struggling to understand speech in situations with a lot of background noise

  • Difficulty following complex directions with several steps

  • Confusing similar but not identical sounds (e.g. wash vs. watch)

  • Experiencing speech and language delays

  • Needing things frequently repeated or clarified

  • Getting easily distracted or bothered by loud noises or background sounds

  • Struggling to understand abstractions, verbal problems, riddles, jokes, etc.

  • Being disorganized and forgetful

  • Falling behind in language, learning, reading and spelling

Auditory Processing Disorder Testing and Treatment

Since APD can resemble many other learning disabilities, testing for the condition is vital to ensuring the right treatment plan is chosen. Audiologists are the only medical professionals who are able to determine whether someone is suffering from APD using auditory processing testing techniques. APD testing typically can’t be performed until a child is 7–8 years old.

At Audiology Consultants of Louisiana, auditory processing disorder testing is usually done in four parts:

  • Hearing tests are performed to rule out hearing loss, which is a more common problem than APD amongst school-aged children.

  • Neurological tests are performed to measure the brain’s response to sounds using electrodes.

  • Behavioral tests examine whether the patient can fill in missing sounds from speech. People who don’t have APD can typically fill in missing information and understand what’s being communicated, while those with APD cannot.

  • Dichotic speech tests require the patient to repeat numbers or words that are presented into each ear alternatively.

If you’re concerned that you or your child is suffering from auditory processing disorder, please don’t hesitate to visit us for APD testing. Every APD patient has unique needs and requires individualized treatment in order to adapt to life with this learning disability.

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