Determining If Your Youngster Has Auditory Processing Disorder

Young children develop skills at their own pace, but as time passes, a hearing problem may become quite apparent to parents and caregivers, particularly when the children are old enough to attend school.

What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

Auditory processing disorder is a problem where youngsters cannot process language that they hear as well as other people. This is because their brain doesn't recognize spoken words correctly. The problem only affects about 5 percent of youngsters who are old enough to attend school; therefore, parents shouldn't assume that this is the problem before seeing a specialist.  

Symptoms of This Type of Hearing Disorder

The signs that a child has APD are varied, but typically are brought to attention by some of the following issues. They include:

  • Difficulty hearing and understanding what someone says, particularly in a loud or noisy environment.
  • Your child often asks you to repeat what you just said.
  • The child has problems distinguishing from words that sound similar, such as 'blue' and 'true.'
  • It is difficult for your child to follow even simple instructions.
  • When the child goes to school, he or she has problems with verbal instructions that pertain to comprehension, reading or spelling words.

Since many of these symptoms are often found in children without APD, it is important that a hearing specialist evaluate the child. Sometimes parents ignore the symptoms because the child seems to hear and interpret spoken words just fine in a quiet environment without distractions.

Seeking the Advice of a Hearing Specialist

Ask your pediatrician to recommend a hearing specialist, preferably one that has experience with young children. Once the child is evaluated, the specialist will be able to provide different ways to help the youngster.

Helping Youngsters with This Disorder

Various therapies are available to help children learn to cope with this type of hearing disorder. Therapies may include teaching the child how to compensate for the APD by using other skills, changing the learning environment or using electronic devices that help the child listen with more clarity.

Early Treatment is Vital

Children who do not get help for APD may eventually experience problems learning well at school or may suffer with delays in language and speech. Working with a speech therapist is generally one of the best ways to cope with this problem. Annual visits with the hearing specialist are recommended as well; this enables the physician to evaluate the progress of the child. Contact a company like Hearing Solutions Audiology Center for more information.