What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Do you find that you get reports back from the teacher saying that your child is just not listening at school? Having difficulty concentrating? Easily distracted?
Could it be a problem with their hearing?
Well, not their hearing as much as their ability to process what they hear. It’s almost like that difference between hearing and listening. Typically, when we hear sound, it travels in through our ears, along a nerve to a relay centre in our brain. From there, it spreads to auditory association areas and sensory integration areas, before we recognise that we have heard a sound and use a different part again to interpret what we have heard and respond appropriately.
But at any given time, we are actually hearing a lot.
Our brain has an amazing ability to filter out all the unwanted stuff and focus on what we need to, and it does this by using a region of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex. Well, that is what the brain should do. Sometimes, it doesn’t always play along, and there can be many reasons for this.
Whenever we see preschool or schoolaged children we screen for auditory processing issues. We do this because they are one of the most common reasons for learning and behavioural issues. We also look at other areas of sensory and motor processing. Balance, for example, has been shown to be a strong indicator of academic achievement.