What is Auditory Processing?
Auditory processing refers to what the brain does with the information it hears. Auditory processing is different to ‘hearing’. A person can have normal hearing (measured with an audiometer during a hearing test), but have difficulties with auditory processing. Auditory processing skills include:
- Sound localisation (knowing which direction a sound comes from)
- Auditory discrimination (knowing that two sounds are different)
- Auditory temporal processing (recognising rapid changes in sounds)
- Auditory sequential processing (identifying the sequence of sounds)
- Auditory memory (remembering sounds)
- Auditory attention (focussing on sounds)
How can I determine if my child has an auditory processing problem?
A child is said to have an auditory processing problem when he or she has difficulty perceiving, decoding, remembering and retrieving information they hear. These auditory skills are necessary for children learning to read and spell. A child can be tested for an auditory processing problem by an audiologist or speech and language pathologist specializing in the test.
A child with hearing in the normal range can still be affected by an auditory processing problem.
- Is slow to respond to questions or follow instructions
- Forgets complex instructions
- Is easily distracted during listening tasks
- Is better at listening in individual or small group situations than in large group situations
- Has particular problems listening when there is a lot of background noise (for example, in the classroom or at the swimming pool)
- Confuses similar-sounding words (for example, 'comb' and 'cone') during listening tasks
- Has difficulties saying complex words (for example, says 'mazagine' for 'magazine')
- Has difficulties ‘sounding out’ spelling and reading words
- Has difficulties with dictation tasks