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Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

  • What is Central Auditory Processing Disorder?

    Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), also known as auditory processing disorder (APD), is an umbrella term for a number of disorders that affect the hearing process. People with CAPD have normal hearing. However, their brain is unable to process and make sense of what they are hearing.

    CAPD affects both adults and children and causes difficulty in understanding language due to some distortion to the auditory (hearing) signal. Some of the main characteristics of CAPD in children are the inability to clearly distinguish speech in noisy environments, difficulty following directions and conversations, poor decoding skills, distraction and learning difficulties.

  • The cause of CAPD is not known.

    • CAPD can occur due to the abnormal processing of auditory information by the brain, which can result from the delayed development of the central auditory system.
    • In addition, some developmental abnormalities have been linked to CAPD, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dyslexia and language impairments.
    • There is also some evidence suggesting that children with neurological disorders, head trauma, and chronic ear infections can suffer from CAPD.
  • The symptoms of CAPD can exhibit different forms and can range from mild to severe, and may include:

    • Delayed speech and language development
    • Difficulty concentrating and understanding fast or unclear speech
    • Difficulty responding to questions
    • Distraction and inattentiveness
    • Frequently asking for information to be repeated
    • Poor listening abilities
    • Poor performance in big groups
    • Poor self-esteem and anxiety
    • Reading, writing and spelling difficulties
    • Sensitivity to loud sounds
    • Trouble determining the source of a sound
    • Trouble differentiating sounds
    • Trouble listening and understanding speech in noisy environments
    • Trouble remembering information that was heard
  • There is no cure for CAPD. However, there are different treatment options aimed at improving this condition. Your speech therapist will evaluate your condition and recommend the treatment that suits you best, depending on the severity of your disorder.

    Treatment may include:

    • Individual speech therapy sessions that aim to encourage and train auditory processing pathways
    • Intervention to help manipulate a child's academic and learning environments, and these include:
      1. Assigning seats away from windows and other distractions
      2. Assigning seats close to teachers in the classroom
      3. Reducing background noise whenever possible
      4. Using hearing aids to amplify speech signals and supply them directly to the student’s ears
      5. Using visual aids such as handouts and diagrams to assist the child in following the lesson
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