We conduct an Auditory Processing Screening Assessment for children and adults who are suspected of having auditory processing difficulties.
Screening tests are quicker to administer than comprehensive diagnostic assessments, and are intended to provide an indication if a client is at risk of an Auditory Processing Difficulty or Disorder. Read more about diagnostic auditory processing assessments…
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.
How do I know if I or my child may have Auditory Processing Difficulties?
Auditory processing tends to manifest as poor listening skills and there are a number of signs to look out for such as:
- 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
- Weak vocabulary
- 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
What is an Auditory Processing Screening Assessment?
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.
Auditory Processing Assessment Test
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. Read more about the process of visiting an audiologist…
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.
BioMARK ( also referred to as BioMAP )
Where appropriate, a BioMARK assessment may be required. The Biological Marker of Auditory Processing (BioMAP, also referred to as BioMARK) is a neurophysiological used to objectively identify auditory processing dysfunction at the brain stem level (measured through the auditory brainstem response, ABR) and does not require active attention from the child or individual. This tool was developed by Northwestern University USA and it can be used for children from the age of 3. To watch a DVD about BioMARK assessment, please click here (http://www.soc.northwestern.edu/brainvolts/projects/clintech/biomark/index.php).
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 feedback meeting with the examining clinician.