How well sound information is interpreted depends on our level of auditory processing skills which are primarily developed during the critical periods of learning language during the first three years when the brain is most prepared to map information from sounds or spoken words onto its language centers. Although there are many factors often associated with Auditory Processing Disorder, the cause of APD is often unknown.
The following are red flags that are commonly seen in children with APD:
- History of ear infections- Children with a history of frequent ear infections are at a greater risk for APD because speech often sounds muffled and distorted when the middle ear is full of fluid. This results in inaccurate coding of speech sounds. It can often cause long term effects on auditory development because it leads to rewiring of the parts of the brain that process sounds.
- Prematurity – Can result in a delay in the development of the central auditory nervous system
- Extremely high fever (over 105 degrees) as a very young child.
- Language delayed – Early signs of APD often appear at a young age when a child’s attention and language skills may be below average compared to other children the same age
- Traumatic birth (extremely long labor, forceps used, stuck in birth canal, etc.)
- Hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice)
- Genetic history
- Brain injury (Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury/TBI)