More About Auditory Processing Disorders


“a defecit in perceptual processing of auditory information in the Central Nervous System” (Bellis 22). It is characterized by an individual who performs poorly on one or more basic auditory behavior tests. However, this disorder affects every individual in a different way. Some estimates suggest that nearly “half of all children identified with a learning disorder…may exhibit APD” (Bellis 22).

Debate: Is it able to be diagnosed properly?

These questions come from the large number of miss diagnosis of the disorder by doctors who do not properly understand the disorder. While the ASHA in a 1996 released a technical report on the current measures to assess, diagnosis and treat the disorder, these problems still continue.

How Should it be Diagnosed?

According to an ASHA Reader, only audiologists should assess the individual. Tests should be administered that “exercise sufficient acoustic control and have been shown to be sensitive to disorders of the central auditory nervous system—while at the same time, minimizing hgher-order confounds such as language, memory, cognition, and related factors” should be utilized (Bellis 23). Other psychological, speech ad logic, and educational tests should not be used. It is important to test the individual in other modalities and sensory input to verify that it is in fact APD.

Categories of Selected Diagnostic Tests for APD (Taken from Bellis p. 24)
• Tests of auditory discrimination assess the ability to differentiate between similar-sounding speech or non-speech stimuli (e.g., signals differing in frequency, intensity, or duration; minimally contrasting speech sounds).
• Tests of auditory temporal processing assess the ability to analyze acoustic events over time (e.g., gap detection, auditory fusion, temporal integration, backward and forward masking).
• Dichotic listening tests assess the ability to separate or integrate competing auditory stimuli, with different signals presented to each ear simultaneously (e.g., syllables, numbers, words, sentences).
• Tests of auditory temporal patterning assess the ability to recognize and sequence patterns of auditory stimuli (e.g. frequency patterns, duration patterns).
• Monaural low-redundancy speech/auditory closure tests assess recognition of degraded speech stimuli presented to one ear at a time (e.g., filtered speech, time-compressed speech, speech in noise).
• Binaural interaction tests assess processing of binaurally presented signals involving interaural intensity or time variations (e.g.. Masking Level Difference, localization, lateralization).
• Electrophysiologic and related tests assess neurophysiologic representation of auditory signals (e.g., auditory evoked potentials, topographical brain mapping, neuroimaging).


Three Main Components:

  1. Environmental Modifications
  2. Compensatory strategies (strengthen higher order cognition, comprehension, etc.)
  3. Direct Remediation (auditory training)

Implications for the Classroom:

- This disorder affects each individually, however, it has the potential to exacerbate many problems in the classroom. The child may not only have difficulty comprehending auditory information, but also reading material, speaking, and development academically (Chermik 134).
- Beaware as educators that there are many other classroom problems that can mask auditory processing disorders.

Created by: Jessica Sweeney


Bellis, Terri James. “Redefining Auditory Processing Disorders.” The ASHA Leader. 30 March 2004: 22-25.

Chermik, Gail D. & Bellis, Terri James & Musiek, Frank M. “Nonmodularity of the Auditory Central Nervous System: Implications for (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder.” American Journal of Audiology. December 2005: Vol. 14, 128-138.