Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

Auditory Processing is a term that describes how your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. Simply put, it is, “What we do with what we hear”.

When a child has a APD the ears hear the sound as loud as everyone else, but cannot make sense of those sounds. This is because the brain does not filter out the sounds they do they do not need to listen to.

APD can be a mild to severe. A child with a APD may have extreme difficulty listening in noisy places; at home with brothers and sisters talking, at a restaurant, in a park, or at school. They may need extra time to process the sounds in order to “put them together.”

APD can interfere with learning how to pronounce sounds correctly, learning language, the ability to follow directions or understand stories told to them and/or learning to read or spell.


Children with ADP often behave as if they have a hearing loss. They have trouble with learning phonics and/or reading and spelling. They may have behavioral and/or attention challenges. Common behaviors include:

  • Frequently say “What?” or “Huh?”
  • Inconsistently responding to commands or directions
  • Incorrectly responding to commands or directions
  • Difficulty with listening or paying attention in noisy places and/or do not like noisy places
  • Difficulty with following directions
  • Difficulty understanding when read a story or what has been said to them.
  • Poor memory for things that they have heard as compared to things that they have seen or touched.
  • Poor reading, writing and/or spelling
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Poor short term memory
  • Difficulty completing instructions in order
  • Trouble learning phonics and poor ability to tell the difference between sounds that are close (like p and b).
  • Challenging behavior and/or social skills


The evaluation will be completed by a specially trained audiologist. The evaluation will take place in the audiology office. At the beginning of the appointment the audiologist and parent will talk about the child’s medical and family history and discuss current medical concerns.

The audiologist will then complete a full hearing evaluation. If it is needed, the audiologist will test the child for APD.
The evaluation for APD can be completed in a child as young as 3 years of age. If suspected in a 2 year old child a preliminary evaluation can be completed.

Please note that we have Speech Therapists who can treat at any location, but the official CAP Testing is only done at Primary Children’s Medical Center.


Currently there is no standard way to treat an auditory processing disorder. Treatment is generally provided by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP will set-up a treatment plan specific to your child’s needs. The treatment will include parent training, education and home programming.

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