Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a hearing problem that affects about 5 percent of school-aged children, the Nemours Foundation says.
When a person has APD, the brain and ears do not work well together to process what is heard. The person typically doesn’t recognize slight differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard.
Early diagnosis and treatment is key, since a child may otherwise have language and speech delays and difficulty learning.
Children with APD are likely to have trouble understanding speech in a setting with a lot of background noise, such as at a playground, sporting event or inside a crowded school cafeteria.
Nemours Foundation suggests how to help a child cope with APD:
- When possible, reduce background noise in your child’s environment.
- Have your child look at you when you’re speaking.
- Use simple, expressive sentences.
- Speak at a slightly slower rate and slightly louder.
- When you give your child directions, ask the child to repeat the directions back to you.
- Teach your child to notice noisy environments and to move away from them when possible.