Auditory Processing Disorders describe a hearing difficulty related to how the brain processes sound. An individual may have hearing in the normal range on a standard hearing test, but have difficulty processing sound. For example, understanding speech in a noisy environment, such as the classroom.
Auditory Processing assessments can be performed with children from 6 years of age.
There are a number of different approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Auditory Processing Disorders. Pittwater Hearing follows the approach developed originally by Professor Harvey Dillon at the National Acoustic Laboratories. This method focuses on individual aspects of Auditory Processing one at a time and uses remediation that has been validated by research to treat the deficit.
Testing for Auditory Processing Disorders
At present, the areas of Auditory Processing for which there are specific assessments available are:
Spatialised Listening in Noise: This is the ability to separate out speech from noise using spatial cues. This deficit is diagnosed using the LISN-S which has been verified by independent research. There is good evidence to support a training program called “SoundStorm” for remediation of a problem in this area.
Auditory Memory: We use an auditory memory task called number memory forward and reversed to look at a child’s ability to remember and repeat back a number pattern. This can help evaluate a child’s auditory memory skills which can be a source of weakness for children with listening difficulties.
Dichotic Listening: This is the integration of sound from both ears, and is measured by presenting different numbers to both ears, and asking the child to repeat them back.
Frequency Pattern: By asking a child to describe the patterns of tones that they hear, we can get an indication of their temporal processing abilities. Temporal processing is important in hearing speech clearly. This can impact on the ability to produce sounds clearly, and understand speech in quiet and in noise.
At Pittwater Hearing, we will not only diagnose a deficit, but assist you in aspects of rehabilitation and measuring your child’s progress. There are often a couple of alternatives when it comes to remediation. Some specific deficits, such as Spatialised Listening in Noise, have a training program that has been validated by quality research. We only recommend remediation that is validated by quality research. We don’t recommend time intensive auditory training programs or expensive equipment that don’t have research validating their efficacy.
FM’s or remote microphone systems have been shown to benefit children with a broad range of listening, attention and behavioral problems, including Auditory Processing Disorder, in the classroom. They work by sending the teachers voice wireless from a clip on or neck worn microphone to a small earpiece the child wears. This helps to overcome background noise, reverberation and distortion so the child is better able to hear and attend to the teachers voice.
If you suspect your child has trouble hearing in the classroom please feel free to contact us for further advice.