Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a complex and often misinterpreted condition that affects a person's ability to interpret sounds.

Read More About The Condition
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Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a complex and often misinterpreted condition that affects a person's ability to interpret sounds.

Overview of Auditory Processing Disorder

APD, also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), is not a hearing loss condition or a learning disorder. Rather, it indicates a dysfunction in the way the brain interprets sounds, particularly speech sounds. This condition is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed due to its complex nature and overlapping symptoms with other disorders.

Primary Characteristics of APD

The hallmark of APD is a difficulty in distinguishing similar-sounding words and understanding spoken instructions, especially in noisy environments. This could result in misunderstood directions, confusion during conversations, and challenges in processing multi-step instructions.

Prevalence and Demographics

APD affects people of all age groups, though it often manifests during childhood. The exact prevalence rates vary due to the broad definitions of the disorder but estimates suggest that between 2% and 7% of children may have APD. The condition appears more frequently in boys than girls.

Associated Conditions

APD can coexist with other disorders such as dyslexia and ADHD, which can further complicate the diagnostic process. However, it's important to remember that APD is a distinct disorder with its own specificities and is not a result of higher-order cognitive, language, or related disorders.

Causes and Risk Factors

While the exact cause of APD remains unclear, several risk factors are associated with its development. These include chronic ear infections, premature birth, head injury, genetic predisposition, and specific diseases like meningitis or multiple sclerosis.

Diagnosing APD

Diagnosing APD is a complex process that requires a multi-disciplinary approach. An audiologist, a specialist in hearing disorders, is typically the professional who confirms the diagnosis.

The diagnostic process includes a series of advanced listening tests, often conducted in a sound-treated room. These tests require the individual to respond to different types of sounds in various ways, such as repeating sounds or pressing a button. It's important to note that children usually aren't tested for APD until the age of 7 because their responses may not be accurate at younger ages.

Treatment Approaches for APD

There's currently no cure for APD, but various treatment strategies can help manage the symptoms. These include classroom support, strengthening other cognitive abilities, therapy, and making environmental modifications.

At Southwest Balance, our strategies focus on enhancing the individual's abilities and improving their quality of life.


APD is a complex auditory disorder that requires comprehensive understanding, accurate diagnosis, and tailored treatment. While it can pose challenges in daily life, with the right support and resources, individuals with APD can lead fulfilling and productive lives.

"I was a bit nervous to have my hearing and balance tested. However, the doctors and staff made me feel comfortable. It was a comprehensive analysis of my hearing and balance. I am very grateful for the care that the doctors took in addressing all of my hearing and balance issues."
James E.
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Conveniently located near the intersection of 7th Street and Indian School Road.

Southwest Balance, Dizziness & Ear Institute (formerly Arizona Balance & Hearing Aids)

4004 N 7th St.Phoenix, AZ 85014