How Well Does Your Brain Process What You Hear?

Auditory processing is how the brain processes what you hear. In short, it’s how the brain recognises and interprets speech and sound. When there is an error in auditory processing, it is known as an auditory processing disorder (APD).

This processing disorder can affect both children and adults, even if they have a normal hearing on a standard hearing test. For children, this may present as a misunderstanding when listening, difficulties following instructions, difficulties listening in the presence of background noise such as a classroom, unable to maintain their attention or being easily distracted.

With the school year about to begin, be alert to how your child is, or is not, interacting, engaging and understanding at home and in the classroom.

For adults, many people complain that they need to constantly ask for repeats during conversations, struggle hearing in background noise, always getting music lyrics wrong or they must use subtitles to understand the television.

In a general population, approximately 6% of people will have an auditory processing disorder. However, the prevalence of APD is higher in marginalised and vulnerable populations. APD can also occur alongside autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and brain injury. Additionally, the incidence of APD is higher if a child has had middle ear pathologies during early childhood.

APD can be frustrating, confusing, and isolating. However, the good news is that research has shown that APD can be tested and treated in children as young as 3.5 years old.

The process of identifying if you have any auditory processing concerns must start with an evaluation by an audiologist who specialises in this field. Your audiologist will assess your hearing to understand what sounds you can and cannot detect.

An individual or child can have hearing that appears to be normal on a standard hearing test but still have an auditory processing disorder. Once a deficit has been diagnosed, we can match the problem that you or your child is having to a treatment. This involves auditory training to improve a specific auditory skill.

At Ear Studio, we have specialised audiologists who assess auditory processing. If you have concerns about your own, or your child’s auditory processing skills, an appointment can be arranged at Ear Studio online at or over the phone on (02) 9159 6122

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