Auditory processing differences (APD), a neurologically-based condition, affects the brain’s ability to process auditory input, making it difficult to understand speech, follow oral instructions, or distinguish speech in noisy environments.

While it’s estimated that 2 out of every 1000 school-age children have auditory processing differences, within certain populations the numbers are much higher. Those with neuroatypical learning differences the numbers can be as high as 72-83%.

Though APD awareness has increased in recent years, confusion about the disorder abounds. It can appear simultaneously with conditions such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, so it’s important that those with APD symptoms get evaluated by an audiologist for proper diagnosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Auditory Processing Differences?

In essence, APD is a learning and social-communication disability, not a hearing problem. In patients with APD, hearing thresholds are often normal, but the central nervous system has trouble processing what’s being heard. Symptoms typically appear at a young age and can range from mild to severe.

Some signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Difficulty listening or learning auditorily
  • Problems following multistep directions
  • Difficulty with reading, spelling, or academics
  • Problems filtering out background noise
  • Hypersensitivity to or reduced tolerance for noise
  • Frequent mishearing or misunderstanding of speech
  • Difficulty understanding muffled, fast, or distorted speech
  • Problems remembering what was heard
  • Problems distinguishing between similar speech sounds
  • Difficulty organizing verbal information
  • Problems with oral and written expression

What Does An Evaluation Look Like?

Assessment involves a 3 step process:

  1. Clinical interview
  2. Testing (possibly multiple sessions)
  3. Feedback session

Required documentation:

  1. 504/IEP Documentation from school
  2. Any private therapy/psychology evaluations
  3. Previous hearing tests

Financing Options

Auditory processing evaluation is a multi-step process and some insurance companies statutorily exclude specific auditory processing billing codes and/or limit the amount of testing they will reimburse within the same day. Click here to learn more.