How to overcome auditory processing disorder
Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a learning disability, or a hearing impairment. People with APD struggle to hear slight differences in words. This leads to other problems like lack of focus, remembering instructions, and overall comprehension. People with auditory processing disorder have a more challenging time listening to music.
Unfortunately, there’s no universal “cure” for APD, but the lifestyle of a person who has the condition can drastically improve with treatment. The auditory training and treatments for APD should be versatile. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists are often the go-to specialists when treating auditory processing disorder symptoms.
Here’s everything you need to know about this condition, including the best ways to overcome it.
What is auditory processing disorder?
APD’s full name is central auditory processing disorder or CAPD. But because it’s more commonly known as auditory processing disorder, we’ll primarily refer to it as such. Again, it’s vital to highlight that APD is not a hearing loss problem or a language disorder like dyslexia.
Furthermore, it’s also not related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), even though kids with APD often mistakenly receive this diagnosis. So, how are people with APD different from those with normal hearing?
A person with APD has difficulty understanding and processing sounds and language. They may not be able to differentiate minor sound differences within words. For example, they may hear the words “cat” and “hat” as the same.
Usually, APD starts in childhood but can develop later in life. The exact cause of auditory processing disorder is unclear, but experts have a few theories. The most common theories for children include premature birth, illnesses such as meningitis, and chronic ear infections.
However, adults might develop APD typically after a traumatic head injury or due to diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS). It’s also vital to point out that ADP tends to run in families and has a genetic component.
What are the symptoms of auditory processing disorder?
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, children with APD may display various symptoms. They may struggle to follow directions, spot differences between similar-sounding speech sounds, and may frequently ask for repetition and clarifications.
Symptoms of APD also include spelling and reading issues, as well as problems with understanding information they hear in a classroom. Because the child shows language processing difficulties, experts may suspect that the child has autism, so conducting a detailed hearing test is an essential first step.
Best ways to overcome auditory processing disorder
Even though APD doesn’t fall into the category of learning disabilities, proper treatment is vital for improving overall language skills. Apart from audiologists and speech therapists, treatment for APD should include doctors, psychologists, and teachers.
The goal is to help children with APD sharpen auditory memory, which often includes sequencing routines and directions. But there are other important ways to help someone overcome auditory processing disorder.
Better classroom acoustics
Adjusting the classroom or any room acoustics is incredibly important in APD therapy. Teachers and parents must consider the amount of background noise and echo in any space.
Therefore, they may need to place more rugs or hang curtains in a room. Another way to improve acoustics is to move tables around the room instead of putting them in rows. Noisy light fixtures and other equipment can also be bothersome.
Reading aloud offers so many benefits to children and adults with APD. This is where assistive tools like text to speech apps come in handy. They can help with learning and auditory processing.
Clarity and patience
It’s essential to properly enunciate words when working with APD. Teachers and parents should speak clearly and directly to children with APD and always check if they understand them. Of course, it’s also vital to be patient with those dealing with APD. They need some time to piece together the sounds and words.
At home and in the classroom, distractions should be minimal. For example, turning off the TV or music. In some instances, using noise-canceling headphones also helps. Children and adults with APD should also be encouraged to share distracting thoughts. Professionals can help them work through these thoughts and achieve better focus.
Customize your listening experience with Speechify
Because APD is a language processing issue, reading aloud is a part of the recommended treatment. Teachers working with children with auditory processing disorders read to them and empathize with similar sounds. Text to speech tools offer the same benefit with greater convenience.
Speechify is one of the best text to speech apps on the market and can make a significant difference to anyone dealing with APD. Users can enjoy customization options like different reading speeds, voice pitch, and more.
Speechify platform offers over 30 natural-sounding male and female voices, so users can indeed find the voice that will help them better process auditory information. Try Speechify today for free and test its benefits to people with APD.
Can a processing disorder be cured?
No, there is no cure for auditory processing disorder. Instead, this auditory deficit requires a systematic approach to treatment. With the help of audiology experts, speech therapy, and assistive tools like text to speech apps, people can create new auditory pathways and improve their auditory processing skills.
What is the difference between auditory processing disorder and dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disorder, whereas auditory processing disorder is an abnormality that affects the central auditory nervous system. People with APD don’t have typical hearing problems but struggle to process sounds. However, according to research, up to 70% of people with dyslexia also have underlying APD.
What should I do if I have an auditory processing disorder?
People with auditory processing problems should focus on using visual tools for learning, such as flashcards, images, and videos. Also, reading aloud helps a lot, which is where assistive tools like Speechify can immensely help.
What are some ways to help improve my auditory processing skills?
The first step should always be spending less time in noisy environments, especially when studying or working. Auditory processing disabilities like ADP requires developing routines and structure, and listening skills. Working with an audiologist or speech therapist is also essential.