Dear Jacqui, my child may have an auditory processing disorder. Please can you explain about this and how we can have this assessed?

Auditory processing is a natural process of sounds being taken in through the ear and travelling to the auditory and language portions of the brain to be interpreted. Auditory processing and language processing are not the same thing. The British Society of Audiology Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Steering committee stated that the ability to listen to sounds involves memory, learning, vision, and attention, as well as hearing. If any of these functions are impaired then hearing and listening may be compromised. APD is characterised by poor perception of sounds, has its origins in impaired neural function, and impacts on everyday life primarily through a reduced ability to listen, and so respond appropriately to sounds. It is an auditory disorder and not the result of higher order deficits of attention, language, cognition, memory or autism. However, other disorders can co-exist alongside APD. Not all language and learning problems are due to APD, and all cases of APD do not lead to language and learning problems.

APD can only be diagnosed by formal audiological assesments. For referral to GOSH, a child needs a normal pure tone hearing test with a speech and language therapy report suspecting APD.