Central Auditory Processing Disorder

A child with central auditory processing disorder listens to a secret.

Central Auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is a complex problem affecting about 5% of children. The most common complaints in children with central auditory processing disorder are difficulty listening or focusing when there is background noise, and difficulty understanding and responding to what is said orally. Nemours audiologists have the expertise to diagnose Auditory Processing Disorders in children and provide proven management strategies.

Read More About Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Some children with CAPD may experience challenges with attention, reading or writing, or expressive and receptive language skills. Screening tests may be performed at your child’s school or doctor’s office, but only an audiologist can diagnose a Central Auditory Processing Disorder.

Nemours Children's Specialty Care, Orlando

1717 S. Orange Ave.
Orlando, FL 32806
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For Appointments: (407) 650-7715

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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For Appointments: (407) 650-7220

  • Stacia Barboza AuD
  • John Ray, MS, MA, CCC-A
  • Teresa Tracy, AuD
What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
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Nemours audiologists have experience and expertise in the evaluation and treatment of children with (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), also called Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). Most kids with CAPD do not have a loss of hearing sensitivity, but they do have a hearing problem in the sense that they do not process auditory information normally.

If the auditory deficits aren't identified and managed early, many of these kids will have speech and language delays and academic problems.

Things to Know about (Central) Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD)

Children with auditory processing disorders (APD) experience difficulty analyzing or making sense out of what they hear. They may demonstrate difficulties in speech, language, and/or learning. They may also appear hearing impaired and/or be inattentive, easily distractible, hypersensitive to loud sound, or have difficulty following oral directions.

Frustration may lead to secondary behaviors, including behavioral difficulties (aggression, withdrawal, or impulsiveness) and poor self-concept. These difficulties can be compounded under adverse listening situations like those sometimes found in noisy classroom.

Diagnosing Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Recent research indicates that many children previously diagnosed with ADD/ADHD actually have auditory processing difficulties. There is not a correlation between auditory processing ability and I.Q., but there is often a discrepancy between I.Q. and achievement.

Since children with CAPD typically have normal hearing, this difficulty will not be picked up during a school hearing screening or even a comprehensive hearing test.

Only audiologists can perform the testing needed to determine if a child has central auditory processing disorder. In fact, an auditory processing problem cannot be completely assessed without the help of an audiologist Evaluation is usually reserved for children 7 years of age and up. Some younger children can be evaluated on a case-specific basis.

The first step is a comprehensive hearing evaluation to insure normal hearing and normal middle ear function. Both hearing loss and middle ear problems can adversely affect auditory processing performance. The auditory processing battery itself generally assesses speech understanding in various situations designed to simulate difficult listening situations that the child typically encounters.

AP testing is administered in a sound booth and generally assesses speech recognition in simulated difficult listening situations. It is for children with normal intelligence and normal hearing, who exhibit difficulties processing auditory information.

Treating Central Auditory Processing Disorder

As a parent, it’s good to know that proven management strategies for central auditory processing disorder exist. If your child is diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder, our audiologists will offer recommendations and/or therapy options related to the specific area of disorder that was seen during testing. In general, management may include teaching of specific compensatory strategies, remediation therapy, and/or management of the listening environment.

At this time, central auditory processing disorder is not categorized as a legally recognized learning disability. This means that your child’s school may or may not be able to provide your child with specific therapy or interventions based solely on a diagnosis of CAPD. However, you will be encouraged to work with your child’s school to ensure your child has access to the type of listening environment and listening strategies that will be most helpful.