|Integrated Listening Systems|
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We conduct Auditory Processing Screening assessments for children and adults who are suspected of having auditory processing difficulties. Whereas hearing is a function of the ear, auditory processing - listening - is a function of the brain. Auditory processing describes the way the brain assigns significance and meaning to the sounds in the environment. Effective auditory processing involves a relatively high speed of information transfer. It also requires a good attention span, a well-functioning memory, and sensitivity to the many subtleties of sound. When parts of this complex system break down or don't operate efficiently, listening is compromised. Ensuing problems are collectively known as Auditory Processing Difficulties or Auditory Processing Disorders (APD).
It is important to know that auditory processing problems present as a range of symptoms, some of which are a feature of many other disorders. such as Autism, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, Dyspraxia, Asperger's Syndrome, Developmental and Speech delay, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with or without hyperactivity. It is not unusual for the aforementioned disorders to be treated for their behavioural symptoms only and for the auditory processing component to be ignored. Because the auditory system influences so many other areas of functioning however, it is a significant focal point for intervention.
Difficulty following verbal instructions
Needing instructions repeated or simplified
Taking a long time to respond verbally
Poor short-term auditory memory
Over-sensitivity to certain sounds
Misinterpreting auditory information
Broken or hesitant speech
Delayed speech and language
Word retrieval difficulties
Weak, flat or monotone voice
Reading, writing and spelling difficulties
Letter and number reversals
Poor coordination and motor planning
Poor sense of balance or rhythm
Left and right confusion
Restlessness, fidgeting and/or hyperactive behaviour
Being easily distracted by ambient noise
Low self-esteem and confidence
Disorganised syntax / sentence structure
An Auditory Processing Screening Assessment is comprised of a number of tests to examine different aspects of auditory processing and to pinpoint the specific area(s) of difficulty. For example, it is important to identify whether the difficulties lie in the speed at which an individual is processing auditory information, or in how they integrate sounds from multiple sources, or whether the problems centre around maintaining attention to auditory information. These are just some of the aspects of auditory processing difficulties.
The first step in an assessment is for the individual to have an updated hearing test to ensure that the problems identified are not being caused by an inability to actually receive sound.
Secondly, the individual will undertake a number of tests which involve repeating words or sounds presented through headphones in a quiet room. Words are presented to one ear at a time and under different conditions such as with competing information in the other ear, with background noise, or at increased speeds. Other tests include giving different messages to each ear at the same time to check whether the individual is able to process both simultaneously. Sound is administered at varying volumes (measured in decibels) and pitch or frequency (measured in hertz) to determine areas of particular difficulty.
Short-term auditory memory and auditory attention are also assessed as these are important components of auditory processing.
Where children are assessed, behaviour is also observed along with their speech development, and all of this information combined provides a holistic understanding of the child's abilities. For adults, they are able to provide subjective reports of their own listening difficulties and in which situations they occur.
Following this assessment, a full written report with results and recommendations is provided and discussed during a meeting with the examining clinician.
Would you like to know more? Contact us and attend one of our information sessions.