Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a hearing problem where the brain is unable to process sounds in the normal way.
It can affect people of all ages, but often starts in childhood.
Symptoms of auditory processing disorder
APD can affect people in many different ways. A child with APD may appear to have a hearing impairment, but this isn't usually the case and testing often shows their hearing is normal.
It can affect your ability to:
- understand speech – particularly if there's background noise, more than one person speaking, the person is speaking quickly, or the sound quality is poor
- distinguish similar sounds from one another – such as "shoulder versus soldier" or "cold versus called"
- concentrate when there's background noise – this can lead to difficulty understanding and remembering instructions, as well as difficulty speaking clearly and problems with reading and spelling
- enjoy music
Many people with APD find it becomes less of an issue over time as they develop the skills to deal with it.
Although children may need extra help and support at school, they can be as successful as their classmates.