Human hearing is very complex and extends far beyond the ability to detect sound. In fact, while hearing begins at the ear, it is within the auditory cortex of the brain where sounds are decoded, analyzed and interpreted. Importantly, while hearing and understanding speech are closely related, they are not the same thing. That is why for some people, conversing in the presence of background noise, following rapid speech, or comprehending complex instructions, can be particularly challenging; it can appear to others as inattentiveness or distractibility.
Auditory processing disorders can exist across the age span, but are often identified in children. Commonly, teachers note that a student is falling behind in reading development, and is unable to complete or recall directed tasks. Often, children with auditory processing issues have a history of ear infections. Of course, adults who experience notable difficulties communicating, but have normal hearing sensitivity, should also be considered for an auditory processing assessment.
Evaluating auditory processing involves the administration of a series of specialized listening tasks and comparing performance to that of age-related peers. If a problem or disorder is identified, results are then used to determine if communication strategies, environment modifications or other interventions are most appropriate. At Brampton Audiology, our Doctors of Audiology perform comprehensive examinations and provide fully interpreted reports to guide patients, parents, physicians and educators.