North Hills ENT

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) affects approximately five percent of the school aged population. Although it is more common in children, adults may suffer from CAPD as well. It is a complex disorder where children (or adults) do not process information they hear in the same manner others do because their ears and brain are not totally coordinated. Their brains recognize and interpret sounds, particularly sounds making up speech, in an adverse way. CAPD is often misunderstood since many of the above mentioned behaviors are also common in learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and depression.

Typically, those with CAPD cannot discern subtle differences between word sounds, even though these sounds are clearly spoken and loud enough to be heard. Sound discernment problems generally occur in a normal listening environment. Those who have CAPD generally possess normal hearing since they can detect single pure tones within a quiet environment. However, they have a hearing problem of sorts since they do not process auditory information normally. If auditory deficits are not detected and treated early, many CAPD children suffer from language and speech delays, as well as academic problems. CAPD is often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

CAPD Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms can range anywhere from mild to severe, and they take on many different forms. These include:

  • Easily distracted or abnormally bothered by sudden and loud noises.
  • Upset by noisy settings.
  • Performance or behavior gets better in quieter environments.
  • Difficulty following both simple and complicated instructions/directions.
  • Difficulty with reading, writing, spelling, and other speech language skills.
  • Difficulty understanding abstract information.
  • Difficulty with verbal math problems.
  • Forgetful and/or disorganized.
  • Difficulty following conversations.
  • Often say “Huh” or “What”
  • Poor memory

Causes of CAPD

While there are no definitive causes of central auditory processing disorder, evidence suggests that lead poisoning, trauma to the head, and chronic ear infections may be contributing factors. However, each person needs to be expertly assessed, diagnosed, and treated on an individual basis.

CAPD Treatment Options

We offer cognitive skills training to assist in strengthening weak areas of the brain. Our specially trained staff members perform assessments to ascertain the specific areas that are problematic. In this way, appropriate training can be put in place as soon as possible. Individual attention is given in order to boost skills like:

Sound Analysis: Ability to correctively discern component sounds of words.

Sound Blending: Ability to accurately combine sounds in word formations.

Sound Segmenting: Ability to hear and separate individual sounds that are combined when words are constructed.

Treatment of CAPD is highly individualized and may include multiple approaches:

  • Environmental Modifications – changes such as the addition of acoustic tiling and carpeting can be made to learning environments to reduce adverse effects of noise.
  • Remediation Techniques – deficits are targeted and strengthened through therapeutic techniques such as speech-language therapy and computer programs
  • Compensatory Strategies – techniques are used to overcome any remaining deficit such as problems solving skills, memory aids, and organizational tools.