Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is the inability to attend to, discriminate, recognize, remember, and/or comprehend acoustic information. Put simply, normal auditory processing is “what we do with what we hear”..

What are the symptoms of CAPD?
The symptoms of CAPD can differ for each person. The most common complaints include difficulty listening in noisy environments, following directions, and telling the differences between words. Most parents report their children seem to “mishear” information or just do not pay attention. Some of these children are even mistaken for having a hearing loss, as they may ask for clarification or repetition..

CAPD is diagnosed by an audiologist who specializes in the testing of CAPD. CAPD can only be diagnosed as an “exclusion” of other disorders or diagnoses. It is important to emphasize that CAPD is an auditory deficit that is not the result of any other higher-order cognitive, language, or related disorders (such as hearing loss, autism or ADHD). CAPD can be misdiagnosed for some of these other disorders because symptoms are very similar. Therefore, it is recommended children have other formal testing completed prior to seeing the audiologist for a true CAPD diagnosis. Such formal evaluations may include a speech or psychoeducational evaluation, among others. 

To diagnose CAPD, the audiologist will establish a full case history, review previous evaluations and assess hearing to confirm normal hearing. Then, the audiologist will administer testing that requires careful listening and attention. Due to the attention and brain function needed to complete the testing, the CAPD protocol is based on normative data that requires children to be at least 7-8 years of age and have normal cognition. The CAPD testing can take up to two hours. 

A speech therapy evaluation may also be suggested by the audiologist to rule out other disorders. The speech pathologists and audiologists work closely as a team to assess each individual. North Carolina Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat offers formal CAPD evaluations for all ages. If you believe you or your child may have CAPD, please call our clinic to speak with our audiologist. 

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