Hearing and Listening: (C)APD

Hearing involves much more than just listening to things that are audible to the human ear. The central auditory nervous system (CANS) is largely involved in the process of understanding what has been said to an individual. Some individuals have what is referred to as a Central Auditory Processing Disorder, (C)APD which can affect how they hear things. The American Speech, Language and Hearing Association, ASHA 2005 definition states that ,“(C)APD refers to difficulties in the perceptual processing of auditory information in the central nervous system and the neurobiologic activity that underlies that processing and give rise to the electrophysiologic auditory potentials.” The American Academy of Audiology defines (C)APD as a disorder of the central auditory nervous system(CANS) that is associated with a number of behavioral manifestations and a variety of symptoms. There are multiple areas in which a person could have difficulty:

Understanding speech in the presence of competing background noise or in reverberant acoustic environments

Localizing a sound source

Hearing on the telephone

Responding inconsistently or inappropriately to requests for information

Following rapid speech

Frequently asking for repetition/rephrasing during conversation

Following directions

Maintaining attention

Being easily distracted

Singing, musical ability, and/or appreciation for music

Reading, spelling and/or learning problems

Learning and understanding foreign languages

Catching humor and sarcasm

Intervention for (C)APD has received a great deal of attention recently due to advances in neuroscience demonstrating the key role of auditory plasticity in producing behavioral change through intensive training. It is documented that there is the potential of a variety of auditory training procedures to enhance the auditory processes.  The opportunity exists to change the brain, and in turn, the individuals auditory behavior through a variety of multidisciplinary approaches that target specific auditory deficits. (C)APD must be diagnosed by an audiologist: however other professionals can and should be involved in the broad assessment of the functional deficits experienced by the individual with (C)APD and in planning the intervention activities to minimize those deficits.

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