Auditory Processing disorder (APD) is also referred to as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)
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 (APD) which is diagnosed by an Auditory Processing Disorder Assessment. Read more at auditoryprocessing.com.au
Our APD / CAPD assessment process involves use of the following range of assessment techniques and tools:
1. Preliminary Questionnaires
The comprehensive APD / CAPD assessment begins with questionnaires which are completed by parents, teachers, or where appropriate by the individual themselves, so that we can start with an understanding of the specific auditory processing strengths and weakness prior to undertaking assessments.
2. Audiology (Hearing Test)
Audiology Assessment Test
An Audiological examination is undertaken to look at the hearing mechanism in the ear up to the cochlea. If the hearing mechanism is compromised, this inevitably affects auditory processing, so an Audiological assessment is essential to the testing process:
o Pitch audiometry
o Play audiometry
o Otoacoustic emissions testing
3. APD Assessment
Skills assessed include:
a) Auditory Closure: This is the ability to complete or fill in missing parts of auditory information when the auditory signal is degraded, such as when a speaker is speaking from another room.
b) Auditory Figure Ground Differentiation: This is the ability to listen to and understand specific auditory information in the presence of competing background noise.
c) Spatialized listening: Is ability to hear and understand spoken sentences both when background noise is coming from the same direction as the spoken sentences, as well as when background noise is coming from a different direction as the spoken sentences.
d) Dichotic listening is the ability to hear auditory information through both the left and right ears and to either integrate these bilateral auditory sources, synthesizing the two sources, or to differentiate them, ignoring one source while hearing and understanding the other source.
e) Temporal auditory processing skills assessment looks at an individual’s ability to hear and understand speech which is time altered by various methods. For example: assessing if an individual is able to understand rapid speech.
4. Language Prosody Assessment
The assessment of comprehension of language prosody (the melody of language) looks at an individual’s ability to hear and understand the prosodic elements of speech which give important contextual and social information. For instance, we know that in English, it is usual for questions to end with a rising intonation; also to perceive differences in pitch and tone which are essential skills for efficient auditory processing.
5. Short-term Auditory Memory and Auditory Attention Assessment
Auditory memory and auditory attention are also assessed as they are important components of auditory processing.
6. BioMARK Assessment
The BioMark is an abjective physiological assessment of auditory brainstem response. Developed by Nina Kraus at the Northwestern University USA, this assessment allows for the evaluation of some auditory processing skills at the brainstem level for children from 3 years of age, whereas most auditory processing assessments can only be administered after the age of 6. The Biomark evaluation gives important information as to the integrity of the auditory brainstem response specifically for those children that have language deficits, attention problems and developmental delays and where no verbal response or attention is required from the child.