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.

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Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando

13535 Nemours Parkway
Orlando, FL 32827
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Clinic Location: Second Floor

For Appointments: (407) 650-7715
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

View Audiologists
  • Nicole Becker, AuD
  • Teryl Camus, AuD
  • Elyssa McRae, AuD
  • John Ray, MS, MA, CCC-A
  • Teresa Tracy, AuD
  • Victoria Walkup-Pierce, AuD, PhD
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
New Patients

Bring these forms for your first appointment:

Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Forms & Resources
New Patient Forms
Returning Patient Forms
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families

Children with auditory processing disorder or "APD" (also called central auditory processing disorder or "CAPD") have trouble analyzing or making sense out of what they hear. Most kids with APD do not have hearing loss. They actually have difficulty identifying the differences between sounds in words.

Audiologists from Nemours Children’s Hospital have extensive experience evaluating and treating children with auditory processing disorder. For your convenience, we also see kids throughout Central Florida and at our Nemours specialty care locations in Lake Mary and Melbourne.

Learn More About Audiology and Hearing Services at Nemours Children’s Hospital »

Auditory Processing Evaluation and Care

Since children with auditory processing disorder typically have normal hearing, it’s not easy to spot during a school hearing screening or even a comprehensive hearing test offered at a doctor’s office. Only skilled, licensed pediatric audiologists can perform the testing needed to confirm if your child has APD.

Because it can cause speech, language and other learning challenges, it’s important to have your child tested as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder

APD can involve many symptoms and behaviors at home and in the classroom. The most common ones involve difficulty listening or focusing when there is background noise. Other symptoms include:

  • spelling, reading or writing challenges
  • speech, language or learning difficulties
  • inattention/easily distracted
  • hypersensitivity to loud sounds
  • difficulty following spoken directions
  • trouble hearing in noisy places

These symptoms may cause your child to feel frustrated and become aggressive, withdrawn or act impulsively.


Children with APD and kids with attention deficit disorders/attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADD/ADHD) show similar symptoms, such as being easily distracted or inattentive. In fact, recent research shows that many children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD may actually have APD.

Despite the learning and attention challenges kids with APD may exhibit, it’s not connected to a child’s intelligence. While kids with APD typically take longer to respond to questions or may score lower on tests, this is only because they have difficulty processing and translating what they hear.

Testing for an APD

At Nemours, we test kids for speech, language or learning difficulties. Typically, children seven years of age or older who don’t have hearing or other development challenges are tested. Testing of younger children is done on a case-by-case basis.

Auditory Processing Evaluation

The first step in an auditory processing evaluation is a comprehensive hearing test to check your child’s hearing and middle ear function. 

Additional tests are then performed to understand what happens to the auditory signal once it leaves the peripheral system (cochlea) and travels to the brain. This testing is conducted in a sound booth. The audiologist will ask your child to listen and respond to a number of different things to evaluate their speech recognition and understanding in difficult listening situations, like a noisy classroom. Testing takes about three hours, so we recommend your child is well-rested.

Treating and Managing Auditory Processing Disorder in Children

There are ways to effectively manage APD. Our experienced, certified audiologists can identify specific issues and offer recommendations to help your child, such as speech or auditory-verbal therapy. These therapies can help your child develop hearing as an active sense, so that listening becomes an automatic part of daily life.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy

For children with hearing loss, speech and language therapy or auditory-verbal therapy is recommended to help develop hearing and speaking skills. Auditory-verbal therapy with a certified speech pathologist can also help address specific processing issues.

In addition to the many support services available, we work directly with you and your family to help manage the challenges.

Learn More About Speech and Language Therapy at Nemours Children’s Hospital »

Helping Your Child at School

At this time, APD is not a legally recognized learning disability, so your child’s school may not be equipped to provide the best possible learning environment. We will work with your child’s school and teacher to make sure that proper classroom equipment and modifications are in place.