What is Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)?

hearing-processingAuditory Processing has been defined by APD pioneer, Dr. Jack Katz, as What we do with what we hear.” Our ears, when in healthy, undamaged condition, are like precision microphones.  But in order for them to work as intended, they depend on the incredible processing of the central auditory nervous system (CANS) to receive their signals and convert them into meaningful, intelligible, and faithful reproductions of the sounds entering the ears. 

In effect, we ultimately “hear” with our brain, not our ears.


If you would like to see the New Zealand guidelines for APD on the NZ Audiological Society website, click here.



Following is a list of symptoms teachers and parents have often observed in children with APD.

 Does the child…

  • have difficulty with reading and spelling?

  • have difficulty responding to part of the message?

  • look around for visual cues from other children before beginning an assignment?

  • have upper respiratory problems such as allergies, sinus, colds, adenoid problems, or mouth breathing?

  • have a history of fluctuating hearing loss, ear infections, earaches, feelings of pressure in the ears, discharge from the ears, or a complaint of noises in the ears?

  • ever seem confused about where sounds are coming from and have trouble locating them quickly?

  • have difficulty telling the difference between words that sound similar, such as cone/comb?

  • demonstrate unusual expressions or body postures while listening (e.g., facial expressions, turning or tilting of the head, turning the body)?

  • respond fairly well in quiet situations but have great difficulty listening in noisy environments such as with the TV or in a noisy crowd or classroom?

  • have difficulty remembering what is heard (e.g., names, stories, numbers, multiple directions)?

  • have trouble saying certain sounds correctly or have delayed language abilities or knowing the meaning of words as well as other children of his or her age group?


APD treatment requires a team approach

No single profession can provide all the treatment and support necessary to optimally manage APD in children. An audiologist is required for diagnosis, auditory training, and fitting of remote microphone hearing aids if required.

A speech language therapist is required for some assessments and for language therapy including phonological awareness training.

An Education Adviser experienced in special education is required to observe and assess the child in the classroom, to work with the teacher on an education plan and teaching strategies, and to facilitate the use of remote microphone hearing aids which require the teacher to wear a transmitter microphone. Various other professionals may need to be involved depending on an individual child’s needs.

green appleFor more information go to:

Hear Better Audiology and APD Support Taupo

Sound Skills Auckland