Auditory processing disorder describes difficulty processing sounds, especially speech, due to the brain and ears not coordinating with one another. Early diagnosis and treatment is important in order to prevent speech and language delays.
Many kids with auditory processing disorder receive hearing tests because their parents suspect hearing loss is the culprit behind symptoms. Most pass their hearing test with flying colors, as they are able to identify sounds delivered one at a time in a quiet environment. Their issues tend to lie with recognizing slight variations in sound, especially when background noise is present.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder?
Symptoms of auditory processing disorder vary in severity. Common signs include:
- Child becomes bothered or easily distracted by loud or sudden noises.
- Child is upset or distressed by noisy environments.
- Child’s behavior and school performance improves in quiet settings.
- Child has difficulty following simple directions.
- Child has difficulty reading, spelling, writing or speaking.
- Child has trouble with verbal math problems.
- Child is disorganized and forgetful.
- It is difficult to follow conversations with the child.
The symptoms of auditory processing disorder are sometimes mistaken for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other learning disabilities.
What Causes Auditory Processing Disorder?
It is unclear what causes auditory processing disorder. Some evidence shows that head trauma, lead poisoning and chronic ear infections may play a role.
How to Improve Communication with Your Child
It can be frustrating to try to communicate with your child if they have auditory processing disorder. Try the following tips to improve your communication:
- Reduce background noise whenever possible.
- Have your child make eye contact with you when speaking.
- Use simple, expressive sentences.
- Speak slightly slower and louder than normal.
- Ask your child to repeat instructions back to you and continue repeating them until their task is complete.
- Maintain a household routine.
- Teach your child to recognize noisy environments causing distress and to move to quieter areas when possible.
To learn more or to schedule an evaluation for auditory processing disorder for your child, contact the experts at Victory Hearing & Balance Center.