Adults with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)


Normal hearing test results do not necessarily indicate normal hearing. Auditory processing disorder is not detected from standard hearing tests, so it is easy to overlook. Adults with a normal or near-normal audiogram who report difficulty understanding speech, especially when there is background noise, may have a hidden auditory processing disorder.

Adults with APD may complain of:

  • Difficulty understanding conversation with background noise (i.e. restaurants)
  • Difficulty dividing attention (i.e. talking on phone while tuning out or listening to other sounds)
  • Difficulty understanding when someone speaks quickly
  • Difficulty following long conversations
  • Difficulty understanding without lipreading / watching someone’s face
  • Difficulty understanding unfamiliar accents
  • Preferring a loud television volume and/or subtitles while watching TV
  • Difficulty with teleconferences
  • Feeling exhausted at the end of the day due to straining to follow conversations
  • Needing more time to process information heard compared to others
  • Difficulty remembering information heard long enough to write it down
  • Misinterpreting the intent of a person’s comments (i.e. sarcasm, tone of voice)
  • Easily distracted by noises most people do not notice (i.e. tapping of a foot, clicking of a pen)
  • Struggling to understand music lyrics or to hear differences between melodies
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension (currently or when younger)

If an individual passes a basic hearing test but still struggles to understand what they hear, it is imperative to go beyond the basic audiological evaluation to determine the source of this “hidden” hearing problem.  An APD evaluation uses a battery of tests to assess the integrity of the central auditory nervous system.  If weaknesses are identified, it is not too late to get help.  Adults can benefit from deficit-specific auditory processing therapy and hearing assistive technology (low-gain hearing aids for auditory processing disorder and/or remote microphone systems). There are also online therapy programs that can be beneficial. Contact us for more information.

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