Auditory Processing Disorder: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Auditory processing disorder is a pathology that affects speech understanding.
Speech understanding is a fundamental aspect of human interactions. Communication is based on this aspect, and if we cannot understand others we clearly have a serious problem.
Auditory processing disorder is a condition in which the person has serious problems in understanding others, as he or she confuses phonemes and sounds.It is a somewhat controversial disorder, since the person confuses phonemes and has difficulty understanding the general meaning of sentences that are spoken to him/her.
It is a somewhat controversial disorder, as there is still no consensus as to which features define it or what diagnostic criteria to follow. We will take a closer look at this auditory processing problem below.
What is auditory processing disorder?
Before explaining auditory processing disorder, it is necessary to explain what is meant by auditory processing. We understand it as the process that takes place in the brain when acoustic stimuli are recognized and interpreted.. Humans hear when the physical vibration, which hits our eardrum, travels to the brain by means of nerve impulses. There it will be interpreted in various regions, allowing us to understand the phonemes and the words they make up, and thus be able to understand speech.
In auditory processing disorder there is an impairment of this process. This disorder is also known as central auditory processing disorder, auditory perception problem, auditory comprehension deficit, central auditory dysfunction, central deafness and speech deafness.
Children suffering from auditory processing disorder are often unable to differentiate between sounds in words, even if the sounds are loud and clear.. For example, they may confuse words such as "duck", "cat" and "plate". If we ask them "How are a well and a chicken alike?", the child suffering from this disorder may understand that they have been asked "How do a bear and a hole rock?" and will answer something that will not make sense.
Children with auditory processing disorder have normal intelligence and normal hearing. Their difficulties in processing auditory information are not due to lesions in the brain. are not due to damage to the eardrum and are not due to intellectual disability.. However, having this syndrome causes a high degree of social and academic dysfunction, since they do not understand many things that are said to them. Among the main problems that we can find we have:
- Auditory discrimination: Recognizing, comparing and distinguishing different sounds.
- Auditory figure-ground discrimination: Focusing on important sounds (conversation) in an environment with background sound (ambient noise).
- Auditory memory: Remembering what is heard orally.
- Auditory sequencing: Understanding and remembering the order of sounds and words.
They have difficulty paying attention to what is said to them and remembering information that has been presented orally, showing a deficient auditory ability. Because of this, their academic performance is poor. Because they confuse sequences of syllables, they have problems developing vocabulary and understanding the language, which is presented in the form ofThis also presents itself in the form of difficulties in reading and spelling.
In addition, they have problems carrying out multi-step instructions, which can be seen in the fact that they need more time to process information. This causes them great frustration which, especially in children, turns into aggression and tension, thus giving rise to behavioral problems.
It is not known precisely what causes auditory processing disorder. Human communication depends not only on being able to hear, but also requires certain mental abilities, such as attention and memory.
As yet It is not yet known exactly how memory and attention fail in language disorders such as auditory processing disorder.. Even if the child has no appreciable hearing damage, he or she may have serious problems in applying sounds to language.
It has been hypothesized that auditory processing disorder may be related to dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum disorders, pervasive developmental disorders or developmental delay. It should be noted that the conceptualization of this disorder is not clear and, on many occasions, people with auditory processing disorder have been diagnosed with auditory processing disorder when they had only learning disabilities.
Auditory processing disorder is a problem that causes considerable controversy, since there is no consensus that there is no consensus that it is a disorder per se.. The fact that there are several definitions of it does not help, and its diagnosis is not very specific. Although they are not diagnostic criteria, some of the following signs are common in people with this disorder:
- Difficulty following verbal instructions, especially at various steps.
- Frequently asking people to repeat what they have said.
- Difficulty following a conversation, especially if there are several speakers.
- Easily distracted by background noises or sudden loud noises.
- Difficulty remembering details of things that have been read or heard.
- Trouble reading or writing.
- Slow to respond when someone speaks to them.
- Difficulty distinguishing where sounds or a conversation is coming from.
- Responding nonsensically.
Auditory processing disorder is usually evident in infancy, although children with auditory processing disorder are not usually evaluated before age 7. Before the age of 7, communication skills are still being learned, so it is not surprising that children with auditory processing disorder are often not evaluated before the age of 7.It is therefore not surprising to find that the child has some difficulty at some point, which does not necessarily mean pathology. After the age of 7 years, if several signs are detected, there is reason for concern. The diagnosis can also be made in adults.
It should be noted that There are other disorders that can be confused with auditory processing disorder.. Problems with working memory can also be found in ADHD. In fact, there is a high chance that the diagnosis will be confused between these two disorders, or that the child will be diagnosed with both.
In any case, the first step in determining whether a child has this disorder is to make sure that there is nothing wrong with the eardrum. It could be that they have an auditory lesion that explains why they do not seem to hear us. Another aspect to rule out is intellectual disability, using psychologists and pediatricians to detect possible developmental disorders or cognitive deficiencies.
Once it has been seen that the problem is neither in the hearing nor in the child's intelligence, other professionals will be called in.Once it has been determined that the problem is neither in hearing nor in the child's intelligence, other professionals will be called in to perform tests to detect the range of bass-treble, if the child understands all the words and phrases that are said, if he/she understands the numbers said orally... all of these tasks will involve an interdisciplinary team of developmental psychologists, audiologists and speech-language pathologists. With their work they will detect possible problems in auditory processing that may occur.
The main treatment for this disorder is speech therapy.. It is essential to teach communication skills and language comprehension, in order to increase their hearing ability. Teach him to pay attention to phonemes and educate the ear to be able to focus on a main conversation, trying to omit background noise.
Learning new words and perfecting language are fundamental aspects to reduce the severity of auditory processing disorder. One of the problems related to this disorder is that the child does not have a very good auditory memory, for this reason working on this skill can be fundamental to reduce the negative impact of this disorder.
The psychologist's task is very important to teach the family strategies to manage the child's frustration for not being able to understand what is being explained. Intervention at the educational level will also be necessaryThe psychologist's task is very important, teaching the family strategies to manage the child's frustration at not being able to understand what is being explained to him/her, and trying to apply strategies that can compensate for his/her auditory attention problems, such as dedicating more time to reading the syllabus or asking the teacher for more personalized explanations.
One of the most interesting strategies in the classroom is the use of auditory trainers, which allow the person to focus attention on one speaker and reduce interference from background noise. They can be used in the classroom, where the teacher uses a microphone to transmit sound to the child with this disorder, who will wear headphones to reduce background noise, such as side conversations, and thus concentrate only on what the teacher is saying, hearing it as clearly and distinctly as possible.
How can people with this disorder be helped?
While psychologists, audiologists, physicians, pediatricians, otolaryngologists and other professionals who are related to this disorder will provide effective treatments to improve the quality of life of people with auditory processing disorder, family and friends can help people with this disorder in the following ways.
- Give simple, one-step instructions.
- Speak slower and louder.
- Provide a quiet place to talk or work.
- Be patient and repeat things if they have not understood.
Most importantly, understand that it is not that the person is voluntarily not paying attention or does not want to understand. or that they don't want to understand. They have a problem that makes their day-to-day life very difficult, and what they need is understanding from their environment. It is very important to try to make it easier for them to understand what is being said and not get frustrated when they do not understand. With the appropriate rhythm and volume, as well as a little patience, he will be able to understand what we say.
- Musiek, Frank; Gail, Chermak (2007). Handbook of central auditory processing disorder [auditory neuroscience and diagnosis]. Plural Publishing. p. 448.
- Chermak GD, Musiek FE (2002). Auditory training: Principles and approaches for remediation and managing auditory processing disorders. Seminars in Hearing 23 (4): 287-295. ISSN 0734-0451
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)