Auditory Processing Disorder In Adults
How APD Impacts Life & What You Can Do About It
Many adults confuse auditory processing disorder with a hearing difficulty. They are surprised, when an audiogram comes back as “normal” and yet they know they are not “hearing” accurately, particularly in social situations where there is background noise.
Auditory processing disorder in adults is a deficit in the processing of auditory information, or a listening problem not explained by hearing loss. In addition to listening, auditory processing disorder can impact reading, test taking and general day-to-day functioning.
Recognizing Auditory Processing Disorder
Many adults have had auditory processing disorder their entire lives. They may have had difficulties with reading, keeping up in class and/or listening in noisy situations, but nothing so severe that they have needed to take action.
That is until they need to improve their reading or test taking skills to take the next career step, or until they get older and a minor auditory processing problem grows and so has more impact in their daily lives. As we get older, the auditory nervous system becomes a little less flexible, meaning that listening and processing language, especially with background noise, is more challenging.
APD Characteristics in Adults
While difficulty listening in a noisy environment is probably the most quoted symptom associated with auditory processing disorder in adults (and children for that matter), there are other common signs of APD in adults:
- Difficulty with phone conversations
- Difficulty following multi-step or complex directions
- Difficulty multi-tasking in auditory situations, e.g., listening and taking notes
- Difficulty taking on a new language
- Spelling, reading, writing issues
Treatment For Auditory Processing Difficulties in Adults
As we learn more about auditory processing disorder for adults and children, more accommodations are becoming available. This includes environmental modifications, like using an FM listening system, and corrective treatments, brain training programs, that take advantage of brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to improve processing skills at any age.
Our brain training program for auditory processing disorder in adults is Fast ForWord. It targets processing and related skills, such as working memory and attention stamina, which often deteriorate when processing is weak. Our clients report improved listening skills in noisy situations, much better reading speed and stamina, and stronger performance on exams.