Auditory Processing

The term auditory processing can best be described as “what the brain does with what the ears hear.” Many people associate hearing with our ears, however, it is actually our brain that is responsible for processing and extracting meaning from incoming auditory information. Efficient auditory processing relies on a number of important auditory skills that are essential for appropriate communication, academic and social development.

It has been estimated that as many as 20% of school-aged children suffer from some form of auditory processing difficulty. Auditory processing disorders are also commonly observed in older adults and patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Individuals with auditory processing deficits may exhibit some of the following behaviors:

  • Behaves as though they have a hearing loss despite normal hearing
  • History of middle ear fluid/infections, especially prior to 6 months’ of age
  • Difficulty understanding or bothered by speech in noisy environment
  • Frequently asks for repetition of auditory information
    Says “huh” or “what”
  • Difficulty directing, dividing and sustaining attention and focus
  • Slow to respond to auditory information
  • Academic difficulties, particularly in the areas of spelling and reading
  • Difficulty following multi-step commands
  • Difficulty processing nonverbal information (i.e. stress, tone of voice, rhythm, etc.)

The diagnosis of an auditory processing disorder (APD) can only be made by a certified audiologist that has received specialized training in this area. The audiologist will provide a comprehensive auditory processing test battery to identify specific areas of auditory weaknesses so that intervention(s) can be recommended for each individual.  It is customary for a comprehensive speech and language evaluation to accompany the APD testing in order to rule out any language-based difficulties.

To learn more about auditory processing or to schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, please contact our office at (225)767-5032.


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