Auditory Processing

Are you worried your child has an Auditory Processing Disorder?

As a parent, it can sometimes be overwhelming when you suspect your child is struggling, but you don’t know why. Symptoms like bad behaviour and difficulty learning are often vague, so it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. However, if your child exhibits any of these symptoms, an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) could be to blame.

Does your child…

  • Appear disconnected or seek out quiet areas away from other people?
  • Have difficulty remembering more than one request at a time?
  • Seem confused about homework instructions and is falling behind?
  • Act out by throwing tantrums or otherwise behaving badly?
  • Act out by being silly at inappropriate times?
  • Show signs of stress like nervousness, sleep disruptions, or irritability?
  • Have difficulty paying attention and following conversations?
  • React negatively to sounds, especially noisy environments?
  • Show a tendency to ignore others when engrossed in something else?
  • Seem to have difficulty hearing the direction of sounds?
  • Mispronounces words or uses the wrong words?
  • Have trouble remembering things and seem unusually disorganized?
  • Or just… doesn’t listen?

While these signs do not conclusively point to Auditory Processing Disorder, the appearance of one or more suggests your child could be having trouble making sense of auditory information.

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?

An easy way to understand Auditory Processing Disorder, (also called CAPD, or Central Auditory Processing Disorder), is to think of it as a sort of dyslexia of hearing. Under normal circumstances, speech travels through the ear to the language area of the brain, where it is interpreted. In a person with APD, however, when the information gets to the brain it’s not processed correctly, resulting in confusion and time delays. In the same way sufferers of dyslexia can have good vision, APD sufferers can have perfectly good hearing—it’s not the quality or clarity of the sound that’s the problem, it’s the way the brain interprets the information that causes problems. With APD, speech is essentially, “lost in translation”.

Why is an Auditory Processing Disorder so hard to diagnose?

Because Auditory Processing Disorder produce similar and overlapping symptoms to conditions like dyslexia, autism, ADD, ADHD, and even psychological or physical illnesses, it’s often misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. Additionally, a child can have Auditory Processing Disorder and other conditions simultaneously, which only serves to further mask the presence of an Auditory Processing Disorder.

Furthermore, most doctors are not qualified to determine if an APD exists—an auditory specialist is necessary to make the diagnosis. Therefore, parents and doctors are unlikely to zero in on APD as a possible explanation for symptoms that are common with so many other (more prevalent) conditions.

There is one further issue that makes diagnosis difficult. Because children with Auditory Processing Disorders usually have normal hearing, they perform well on sound tests given to them by audiologists. In this “perfect” environment where the room is quiet and the child is being asked to respond to tones rather than speech, a hearing problem is ruled out and parents and doctors move on without considering APD as a possible cause for the child’s symptoms.

What causes an Auditory Processing Disorder?

While the exact causes of APD are unknown, it’s believed that some of the following may contribute to the condition:

  • Frequent ear infections, glue ear (with or without grommets)
  • Stress or trauma (not necessarily recognised)
  • A head injury (may have gone unnoticed)
  • Difficult or premature birth
  • Undetected excessive ear wax
  • Allergies causing chronic inflammation in the ear-nose-throat region

What can be done to help a child with APD?

Once an Auditory Processing Disorder is identified and any medical issues influencing the condition have been addressed, there are many treatment options available that can greatly improve your child’s ability to process speech. Due to the fact that the exact cause of APD is unknown, there are several different approaches; however, two widely accepted approaches are auditory therapy (administered by a trained speech therapist) and audio-based programs like TOMATIS®.

In speech therapy, the child learns techniques and strategies to counteract the disruptions in information processing. Depending on the areas of difficulty, they learn new cognitive skills, perform speech correction exercises, work on ways to improve focus, and more. Again, much like with therapy for dyslexia, it’s a matter of helping the child deal with the symptoms and improve their ability to operate “normally”.

The TOMATIS® method is an audio-based program that approaches APD by addressing the problem at a direct auditory system level. Using advanced sound technology and the latest research, the TOMATIS® method uses specially designed devices that stimulate the brain and progressively help it analyse auditory messages.

What is the TOMATIS® method and does it really work?

TOMATIS® is the Gold Standard of auditory training, and it has been for more than 50 years. Here’s why it works so well…

When we’re infants, speech and sound enter our ears and stimulate the brain. This is how babies learn to understand language and begin speaking. With the TOMATIS® method, we use a head set to “re-train” the sound-to-brain connection.

Using a head set designed for the purpose, we transmit sound through both the ear canal and through vibrations, a very effective practice called bone conduction. Using both methods simulates the natural way we hear in addition to transmitting the sound directly to the inner ear—boosting the natural auditory system processes.

The music played through the head set is scientifically selected, and will change in timbre and intensity unpredictably. These musical contrasts trigger the brain to become more active in response to the sound. As the full program runs over 3 – 6 months, new connections patterns are established between ear, brain, and body. This ear-brain “workout” increases concentration, speeds up learning, and directly targets the auditory processing disorder. The TOMATIS® method works because it doesn’t just address the symptoms, it actually improves the way the brain processes auditory stimuli.

Another factor that adds to the success of the TOMATIS® method is that it’s easy for children of any age. Children can play, lay puzzles, paint, or even do homework while listening to the program. Even small children with a history of hypersensitivity to sound find relief in the music. Some clients have even been known to doze off while listening!

Natural, non-intrusive, and scientifically researched, the TOMATIS® method gets real results.

Money Back Guarantee

In fact, we believe in the TOMATIS method so completely, and we’ve seen how much it helps children with APD, that we offer a 100% money back guarantee. If, after the first block of training and within 30 days, you haven’t seen significant improvements in your child and don’t want to continue, we’ll issue you a full refund.*

What do I do next?

As a parent, it can sometimes be overwhelming when you suspect your child is struggling but you don’t know why. Unfortunately, many parents give in to societal pressure and begin to think there’s nothing wrong and the child is, “just that way.” But APD is a real condition, and it will not get better by addressing the consequent behaviour issues through discipline—the problems are not a result of bad parenting or a bad child.

So, trust your instincts. If you suspect APD could be causing problems for your child, take the next step now and get more information. Just enter your first name and email address in the golden box to the right. We’ll send you free information, including:

  1. A chapter from the book The Listening Journey for Children by Francoise Nicoloff  with a story about a little boy and how he overcame his struggles
  2. An overview of Tomatis® Method research
  3. A self-assessment questionnaire with 40 questions in areas we know are related to poor auditory processing—or listening—skills

Once you’ve reviewed the information, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to answer any remaining questions you may have and schedule an appointment if needed.

Over the years, our staff has helped more than two thousand children perform better in school, behave better, and (most importantly) feel better about themselves. If you suspect APD is causing your child problems, don’t hesitate, act now: Call 0800 -TOMATIS (0800-866284) to learn more or enter your email in the form and we will send you more information.