Central Auditory Processing Disorder Symptoms

Signs of an Auditory Processing Deficit and How It Undermines Learning

If central auditory processing disorder symptoms are not recognized and addressed, processing delays will undermine the natural development of reading and learning.  This is a very real issue, as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD or APD) often goes undetected.  It is an internal processing difficulty that is not easily tested. Most children with APD do not have speech delays and will pass a hearing exam.

Here are some signs of central auditory processing disorder to look for:

  • Difficulty listening with background noiseauditory processing disorder symptoms
  • Speech therapy or language delays when young
  • Poor auditory attention, drifts off in class
  • Difficulty with phonics and speech sound discrimination
  • Difficulty with sounding out when reading
  • Poor auditory memory
  • Often misunderstands what is said, needs information to be repeated
  • Poor expressive language skills
  • Slow or delayed response to verbal requests and instructions

Here is a definition of auditory processing disorder. You can also request an APD guide about auditory processing disorder in children — symptoms by age and a description of causes.

Imagine Your Child’s Day Living With CAPD

Central auditory processing disorder symptoms intrude into many parts of your child’s day:

  • If the teacher is not speaking loudly enough or if there’s any background noise, much of what goes on in class will sound muffled or will be missed.
  • If it is missed at school, homework will be a time of stress as your child has to tell you he missed the assignment or didn’t quite catch the material covered in class.
  • Social conversations with peers are challenging, leading to your child either not feeling confident to contribute or saying the wrong thing.
  • Sometimes your child will be put on the spot — in class or in social situations — where an answer is required before the question has been fully processed and understood.
  • Most children with CAPD struggle with sounding out words — reading out loud to a class or to a parent is yet another daily humiliation.

All of these daily frustrations at best erode your child’s confidence and self-esteem and at worst lead to teasing by peers and general frustration and unhappiness.

Difficulties Related to Auditory Processing Disorder in Children

Central auditory processing disorder symptoms are present in a majority of children with learning difficulties, in three categories: reading, learning and language.

Reading Difficulties
Efficient — fast and accurate — auditory processing skills help the clarity and breadth of phonological vocabulary, an essential reading skill. Hearing “cat” as one sound is enough to participate in conversation but to recognize it in text form requires “phonemic awareness” (definition: phonemes are the smallest components of sound that make up words) or being able to hear the component sounds of cat, i.e., “c-a-t.” This opens the door to automaticity in reading and reading comprehension.
Learn about our reading program

signs of CAPD in classLearning Skills Impacted By APD
An auditory processing deficit can cause inattentive ADD, and it can undermine learning.

Over time, as skills are slowly learned, the signs of auditory processing disorder change. In young children the main clues are often behavioral — unwillingness to engage, acting out when asked to do anything involving listening or reading.

By middle school the signs of auditory processing disorder are much harder to detect, but their impact is no less severe. CAPD can undermine learning efficiency at every turn — lower grades, reading reluctance and/or weak reading comprehension, difficulty engaging or keeping up in class, all culminating in homework frustration.

Language Issues From APD
The first symptoms of auditory processing disorder in children are usually language related. Obvious difficulty with pronunciation and vocabulary are directly related to APD. Other auditory processing symptoms such as difficulty following directions are sometimes harder to pick up. These language related issues are often called language processing disorder.

Homework Frustration And/Or Disappointing Grades
In many cases, parents are not aware of an auditory processing deficit until the homework starts to pile up and it takes too long. Or a child who knows the material has disappointing grades. Language processing is the most fundamental of all learning skills — we even think in English! Auditory processing problems undermine learning confidence and independence.

For information on how central auditory processing disorder symptoms vary by age, please follow this link:
Central auditory processing checklist by age

There are a number of different auditory processing skills that are undermined by auditory processing disorder, including auditory discrimination, auditory memory and auditory sequencing. To learn more about these skills, follow this link:
Auditory processing deficits by type

Gemm Learning Can Address Auditory Processing Symptoms

An auditory processing deficit can be exercised and strengthened. Most children develop these skills naturally, simply by listening to the language around them. Some need more stimulation and practice than occurs in daily life — our treatment program for APD provides that added exercise, the equivalent of listening to millions of words in just a few months.