When trying to determine why an individual is exhibiting attention or focusing problems, it is important to check for the presence of an auditory processing disorder (APD). An auditory processing disorder can be defined as a breakdown in the brain’s ability to process sounds and words. An individual with APD may be able to hear well but be unable to perceive sound correctly. A breakdown in any of the areas listed below may cause an individual to display attention/focusing problems:
- Auditory Figure-Ground- Problems happen when an individual is unable to pay attention due to the distraction of back ground noises (i.e. an echo in a building, the hum of an air conditioning unit).
- Auditory Memory- Problems arise when an individual has difficulty remembering information such as directions, lists, or study materials. It can occur immediately or be delayed (i.e. inability to remember known information at the time of a test).
- Auditory Discrimination- Problems ensue when an individual has difficulty hearing the difference between similar words or sounds (i.e. ‘coat/boat’ and ‘ch/sh’).
- Auditory Attention- Problems occur when an individual is unable to concentrate on listening long enough to complete a task or requirement (i.e. listening to a lecture).
- Auditory Cohesion- Problems manifest when higher-level learning tasks are difficult (i.e. drawing inferences from a conversation or comprehending verbal math problems).
The following symptoms are indicators of APD:
- Difficulty blocking out background noises
- Struggling to pronounce age appropriate words correctly
- Difficulty following conversations
- Hypersensitive to sounds
- Difficulty following directions
- Discriminating between similar sounds
- Difficulty with spelling and reading
If you suspect the presence of an auditory processing disorder, have the auditory processing system tested. We at Snider Therapy Centers recognize that auditory processing disorder is a common issue. As a result, a test for APD is Included in the initial Neuro-Sensory Assessment. If an APD is noted, further testing can be administered to determine severity and appropriate treatment measures. Don’t guess – take the test.