Auditory Processing Disorders
Auditory processing disorders create a difficulty with, or an inability to, integrate auditory information and to recognize, discriminate and understand spoken language, especially when presented within challenging listening environments (e.g., when noise and/or distance from a speaker are factors). These disorders contribute to difficulties with language development, speech comprehension, reading, word retrieval, language organization skills and memory.
To diagnose an auditory processing disorder, an individual must be a minimum of 7 years of age and have peripheral hearing that is within normal limits as determined by an audiologist's hearing evaluation (an individual cannot have significant hearing loss). Diagnosis is made by the audiologist following completion of a battery of tests, performed in conjunction with a complete speech, language and auditory processing evaluation from a speech-language pathologist, who then determines the need for therapeutic intervention.
Auditory processing involves a wide array of skills. Once a patient is diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder, a speech-language pathologist will design a therapy program and frequency of service that specifically addresses individual areas of need identified during the evaluation process. For pediatric patients, parental involvement in the therapeutic process is essential for transference of goals and objectives into the home and other environments.