17 May Beyond the Hearing Test: Auditory Processing Disorder
For some individuals, hearing difficulties can go beyond the loss of acuity at certain pitches. In fact, some individuals with “normal hearing” results on our traditional hearing test can still exhibit significant struggle hearing in their everyday life. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) was first officially described in 1992 by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and it is defined as having difficulty retrieving, transforming, analyzing, organizing, and storing auditory information. In more basic terms, individuals with APD have difficulty in properly “hearing” the auditory message, even though the ears are able to hear the acoustic signals themselves. The ears and the brain don’t seem to fully coordinate/ communicate, as something adversely affects the brain’s ability to interpret the sounds. We hear with our brain, not our ears.
What are some common complaints from individuals with APD?
- hearing in background noise is very difficult
- often require repetition
- when concentrated on another task, often struggle to hear speech
- difficulty following directions given in a series
- trouble taking in information presented in an auditory format
- hears better when watching the speaker
- problems with rapid speech
How do Audiologists test for APD?
At Hearing Institute Atlantic, we do use the QUICK-SIN, an additional test designed to test speech perception in background noise, which can help identify when possible processing deficits may exist. This is something additional to the traditional hearing test that is typically offered at most private clinics, and we have integrated it into our regular hearing tests to examine a more functional side of an individual’s hearing.
If an audiologist or other health professional has concerns with the individual’s auditory processing abilities, a referral to Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centers is made for the APD test battery. This is a variety of tests, designed to examine the many different types of auditory processing activities.
We hear with our brain, not our ears!