Patients with CAPD often feel that they can hear but they can’t understand. There is a decreased ability to accurately understand speech, particularly when speech is presented at a fast rate and/or in the presence of competing signals (e.g. background noise). This is due to a reduced speed of signal processing within the auditory cortex. This can occur with or without measurable hearing loss and becomes more prevalent with age.
Additionally, there are instances of congenital auditory processing disorders that present in children. It is described as a neurological defect that affects how the brain processes spoken language. It makes it difficult for a child to process verbal instructions due to an inability to “filter out” background noise, such as in a classroom.
Behaviors seen in children with CAPD include:
- Mishearing/discrimination problems
- Inability to follow directions
- Problems attending when spoken to
- Distracted by background noise
- Poor organization of verbal material
- Oral and written expression problems
- Remembering what they hear
- Learning to read
How Is CAPD Diagnosed?
Children with CAPD may become withdrawn, isolated and depressed. They often become disruptive and may take unnecessary risks or lash out at others. Because many of the behavioral issues closely mimic those associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other learning disabilities, an incorrect diagnosis is often made.
An audiologist can determine the exact nature of your child’s issues through a routine hearing test, which will rule out any physical hearing problems by testing their ability to hear a range of frequencies. If no hearing loss is present, behavioral and electrophysiological testing is administered.