Auditory Processing Assessment


Auditory Processing Assessment

Auditory processing has been defined as "what your brain does with what your ears hear." People who have difficulty with auditory processing usually have normal hearing, but have difficulty in certain situations. Some people understand speech well in quiet, but have trouble understanding speech clearly if there is background noise. Others have difficulty with short term auditory memory. This is an inability to remember something you have heard, such as a verbal series of instructions. Some people cannot process information quickly, and can understand better if the speaker slows down a little, and speaks in shorter sentences. 

Some possible signs of auditory processing disorder in school age children are:

  • Frequently asking for things to be repeated
  • Difficulty following multi-step verbal directions (usually single directions are followed well)
  • Seems to have difficulty understanding well in background noise
  • Difficulty with reading - with phonics, and/or with reading comprehension
  • Problems with auditory memory (remembering a sequence such as a phone number, or series of verbal directions)
  • In school, children may be at grade level in some subjects but not others, most commonly the problem is with reading/language areas
  • Often children will seem to learn better in one-on-one situations than in large groups, because it tends to be quieter, and the speaker can go at the child's pace, and repeat if necessary 
  • Children tend to not understand jokes, especially puns, since they tend to be very literal in their interpretation of language

We can perform central auditory processing evaluations on children age 6 and up. The appointment lasts approximately two hours, and the audiologist gives parents information on the test results, and suggestions for accommodations that might be helpful in the classroom. If we do find an auditory processing disorder, we usually refer the child for further testing by a speech-language pathologist, who determines if remedial therapy is recommended. We have speech-language pathologists on staff, or sometimes this can be performed by the child's school speech therapist.

The testing is designed for children with low average cognitive abilities, so if another disability, such as overall cognitive delay is suspected, this should be evaluated first. Children can have a central auditory processing disorder in combination with other disabilities such as a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD). If a child is diagnosed with ADHD, and takes medication for this, we would want the child to be ON the medication for the testing. 

Recommended Web sites with information on auditory processing:




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Last Updated: 07-08-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.