NEW WAVE

Auditory Processing

What is Central Auditory Processing (CAP)?

Central Auditory Processing is, in simplistic terms, the brain’s ability to analyze and recognize the different sounds and give them meaning for us. Based on the physical characteristics of a sound (frequency, intensity and temporal features), the brain analyses the sound and then creates an ‘image’ of that sound. It then compares this image with other stored ‘images’ in the brain and when a match is found, we are able to recognize/understand that sound. It is in this way that we store up a bank of recognizable sounds that have important meaning in our lives (sirens, doorbells, crying, speech etc). If our brain picks up a sound for which it can’t find a match (for example a foreign language, a strange animal noise etc) it comes across as unrecognizable - thus we don’t understand it, nor can we prescribe any meaning to it.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

Central Auditory Processing Disorder is when the brain doesn’t analyze, process and store sound ‘images’ properly. Some children may have perfectly normal hearing but may show symptoms that are similar to hearing loss.

The result of CAPD is that these children may have difficulties with understanding what they are hearing. They may also have trouble hearing speech which is degraded by background noise or when speech is slightly unclear. They may have difficulty following instructions or cannot hear the subtle differences between words such as “sun” and “fun”, or “cup” and “cap”. This affects their phonemic awareness which in turn affects their later literacy, resulting in poor academic performance or performance not in keeping with their cognitive abilities.

Children with CAPD have often had a history of middle-ear dysfunction at a critical time in their learning of speech sounds. CAPD can also evidence itself where there is a family history of similar difficulties, suggesting it can have a genetic component.
Children may begin to show signs of auditory difficulties from preschool age and auditory skills can be screened to assess potential weaknesses.

The result of CAPD is that these children may have difficulties with understanding what they are hearing. They may also have trouble hearing speech which is degraded by background noise or when speech is slightly unclear. They may have difficulty following instructions or cannot hear the subtle differences between words such as “sun” and “fun”, or “cup” and “cap”. This affects their phonemic awareness which in turn affects their later literacy, resulting in poor academic performance or performance not in keeping with their cognitive abilities.

Children with CAPD have often had a history of middle-ear dysfunction at a critical time in their learning of speech sounds. CAPD can also evidence itself where there is a family history of similar difficulties, suggesting it can have a genetic component.
Children may begin to show signs of auditory difficulties from preschool age and auditory skills can be screened to assess potential weaknesses.

At NEW WAVE we recommend to allow a child to mature before carrying out a formal APD- test(link) from age 6 onwards.

Other factors that may affect results

Two factors that influence CAP are Memory and Concentration.

Adequate Auditory Memory is essential for good auditory processing to take place. Both short term auditory memory and working memory help the child to “make a match” with stored images of sounds, to arrange these sounds in a meaningful sequence, to attach meaning to these sounds and to manipulate these sounds with mental agility.

Adequate Concentration is also required to process sounds. Auditory and visual attention combines to make up our ability to concentrate on a task. It is important to establish whether a child has a global concentration problem or purely an auditory attention problem before making a diagnosis of CAPD.

At NEW WAVE, when it is indicated, we include both these factors in our assessment of CAPD. For more information, please see APD- test.