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What is Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?

Central Auditory Processing is a term to describe how the brain interprets sounds that we hear, for example the difference in pitch between two sounds.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (often referred as Auditory Processing Disorder - APD) is where a person can detect sounds at normal levels but can not process the sound information accurately. When this occurs in children it can lead to learning difficulties and sometimes behavioural issues.

A parent or teacher may suspect a child with CAPD if they have

  • Difficulty following instruction
  • Difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise
  • Difficulty learning in background noise
  • Become easily distracted
  • Lower than average reading skills
  • Poorer verbal skills
  • Behavioural and self esteem issues

Assessing CAPD

If a child is suspected to have CAPD then he or she can be assessed over two appointments that involves:

  • Taking a case history to learn about the child's learning and hearing skills
  • Performing a peripheral hearing assessment to rule out any undetected hearing loss.
  • Performing a series of Central Auditory Processing Tests

We recommend the peripheral hearing assessment and central auditory processing assessment are performed at different appointments. We also recommend central auditory processing assessments are performed in the morning.

What age can we assess for CAPD

CAPD tests can be performed on children from age 7.5+ years.

Management of CAPD

Management of CAPD involves a team approach with other professionals such a Speech Pathologists and Teachers. This typically involves three approaches:

  • Environment modifications such a seating the child away from distracting noises or using a FM system to reduce unwanted noises.
  • The use of intervention programs designed to improve auditory processing in children.
  • Teaching compensatory strategies so the child can cope better in daily listening environments.

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