A Hidden Hearing Problem Most People Have Never Heard of

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Awareness Day is April 4

young boy sitting at a table thinking

Does your child have difficulty paying attention in the classroom or following directions? About 43 percent of children struggling in school have an underlying auditory processing disorder (APD). April 4 is APD Awareness Day, and Alicia Swann at Auditory Processing Center in Clinton is identifying and treating this often hidden disability to help children succeed in school and reach their full potential.

About Auditory Processing Disorder

An auditory processing disorder affects the brain’s ability to turn sound into usable information.  The child will pass a basic hearing test, but their brain does not ‘hear’ sounds in the usual way. This makes it hard to distinguish similar sounding speech sounds, remember what you hear, and understand when there is background noise, interfering with a child’s ability to learn, concentrate, and interact with others.   During the pandemic, auditory processing problems may have become more noticeable since masks reduce the volume and clarity of speech and children cannot rely on lip reading clues to aid understanding. Distance learning also presents challenges for individuals with auditory processing disorder. It can be hard to control background noise from the home environment if parents or siblings have their own conference calls or virtual classes or there is competing noise from dishwashers or other appliances. In addition, the audio quality is not as clear with virtual learning, especially if the teacher’s back is turned to write on a white board, too many children are talking at once, or speakers are sitting too far away.

 “APD coexists in 70% of individuals with dyslexia and is often mistaken for an attention deficit, but since it is not detected from standard hearing tests or psychoeducational evaluations, it is often overlooked,” Swann says. It is common for individuals with APD to have difficulty processing fast-changing sounds like speech. This makes it unusually difficult to take in information verbally.  Because children with APD have problems decoding the sounds that make up language, it often leads to problems learning to read and spell and causes them to miss a lot of the details of what is being said around them, especially in noisy environments. Swann, states that “APD Awareness Day is a great opportunity to spread the word that overlooking an auditory processing disorder can lead to years of extra reading instruction working around an underlying problem.”

Auditory Processing Disorder

Symptoms of APD often include: 

  • Frequently asking “huh?” or “what?” and needing information repeated
  • Trouble understanding in noisy environments
  • Difficulty following multi-step directions
  • Poor spelling skills
  • Poor reading fluency and comprehension
  • Poor memory for list of words or numbers
  • Difficulty with complex language, such as word problems
  • Easily distracted or bored when conversations or activities do not include visuals
  • Misinterpretation of questions
  • Slow or delayed responses to verbal instructions
  • Become frustrated with certain tasks (i.e. saying “I don’t understand,” “I can’t do this,” or “I don’t know what you mean”)

For a full list of common APD symptoms, visit auditorycenter.com. 

About Auditory Processing Center

Only an audiologist specializing in assessment of the central auditory nervous system can diagnose APD. Auditory Processing Center is a small private practice located in Clinton, Mississippi specializing in assessment and treatment of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), in both children and adults and is the only center of its kind in Mississippi. Due to the high quality and unique nature of their services it is common for people to travel to Clinton from other states or receive help through Auditory Processing Center’s telepractice services. Auditory Processing Center’s goal is to help children and adults overcome the processing deficits that interfere with comprehension, become more confident in listening and learning situations, and improve their academic performance.  



For more information on auditory processing disorder visit www.auditorycenter.com or 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


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