World Hearing Day is held each year on March 3 to raise awareness of deafness and hearing loss, as well as promote hearing health, around the globe. Each year, the World Health Organization chooses a theme for World Hearing Day, and the theme for 2019 is “Check Your Hearing!”
Audiologists like Alicia Swann of Auditory Processing Center in Clinton play an important role in identifying and treating hearing problems in both children and adults. In particular, Swann is helping bring awareness to a hearing disability that often goes undiagnosed—auditory processing disorder (APD).
Forty-three percent of children struggling in school have an underlying auditory processing disorder. This can interfere with a child’s ability to learn, concentrate, and interact with other people. People with APD appear to have normal hearing when assessed using a standard hearing test, but they have difficulty processing fast-changing sounds like speech. They also have trouble learning to read and spell and may miss a lot of the details of what’s being said around them, especially in noisy environments.
These individuals aren’t having problems because of inner ear damage. Instead, their trouble stems from an inability to correctly process what they hear due to a disconnect between what they are hearing and how their brain responds. It’s important to note, however, that APD is not related to one’s level of intelligence.
Since symptoms often overlap with other diagnoses such as ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning or language disorders, APD is often overlooked.
“One of the most frustrating situations for a parent is knowing that something is wrong with your child but not knowing how to fix it or who to turn to for help,” says Swann. “Many children with learning problems have coexisting diagnoses, but it is important to identify an underlying auditory processing disorder so a child can get the correct treatment.”
Approximately 20 percent of American adults, ages 20 to 69, have some trouble with hearing, and many could benefit from hearing aids. However, quiet often, if the individual’s hearing test is normal, they are not referred to rule out an auditory processing disorder. These individuals may not need hearing aids but could benefit from treatment for auditory processing disorder.
“There are different types of auditory processing disorders,” says Swann. “But often, we find that the ears do not work well as a team, which can cause reduced ability to extract pertinent auditory information from a noise background. It is important to rule out a lazy ear, a condition where the ears are out of sync, leading to distortion and sensitivity to soft environmental sounds. This type of APD can usually be corrected in four treatment sessions.”
About Auditory Processing Center
Only an audiologist specializing in assessment of the central auditory nervous system can diagnose APD. Auditory Processing Center in Clinton specializes in assessment and treatment of auditory processing disorder in both children and adults and is the only one of its kind in Mississippi.
We encourage parents concerned about their child’s communication development, or anyone experiencing communication difficulties themselves, to seek help and “Check Your Hearing” in 2019.
The mother of Caroline, age 6, says, “I can already tell a difference in Caroline’s grades after two therapy sessions. They have gone from 50’s to 80’s and sometimes 100’s. Caroline’s teacher could notice a difference within a week of her first treatment for her lazy ear. We as parents can also tell a difference at home. She’s not coming home as tired and frustrated anymore.”
“I have to say this has been an amazing experience,” says the mother of Sophie, age 7. “Sophie has truly grown to love reading and school now since all the therapy and Fast ForWord. Sophie was struggling with sounds and putting words together but now, she has her confidence back. She even makes the comment, ‘I want to be a teacher and a therapist.’”
For more information about APD and to schedule an evaluation, please contact
Alicia Swann, Educational Audiologist
Auditory Processing Center
541 Hwy 80 West, Suite C
Clinton, MS 39056
Phone (601) 488-4189