About Auditory Processing Disorder
Auditory processing disorder (APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), is a complex problem affecting about 5% of school-aged children. These kids can't process the information they hear in the same way as others because their ears and brain don't fully coordinate. Something adversely affects the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, most notably the sounds composing speech.
Kids with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. These kinds of problems usually occur in background noise, which is a natural listening environment. So kids with APD have the basic difficulty of understanding any speech signal presented under less than optimal conditions.
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When classroom teachers are confronted with children who ''will not listen,'' ''cannot sit still,'' ''does not finish classroom assignments,'' and ''creates problems for other children,'' hearing loss is not the first problem the teacher considers. Maybe it should be.
Research studies show that one out of three children have enough hearing loss to make learning difficult. Children in every school (public and private) are at risk for this silent epidemic.
Five million school-aged children, or 11.3% of all school children in the U.S.A. exhibit some degree of hearing impairment. This startling finding was reported by Fred Bess Ph.D., from the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in a recent issue of The Hearing Journal. Dr. Bess noted that many children have ''unrecognized'' hearing loss. The largest undetected hearing loss in children affects those considered to have ''minimal sensorineural hearing loss'' (MSHL). Dr. Bess found that the prevalence of MSHL in schools is 5.4%, or more than one of every twenty children.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder of childhood, estimated to affect three to five percent of school-age children. ADHD core symptoms include; developmentally inappropriate levels of attention, concentration, activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. Children with ADHD usually have functional impairment across multiple settings including home, school, and peer relationships. ADHD has been shown to have long-term adverse effects on academic performance, vocational success and social-emotional development, according to the National Institute of Health and the office of Special Education Programs.
The diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is often based on doctor, parent, and/or teacher observations of the child's behaviors.
Could these two problems (ADHD and MSHL) overlap, or perhaps be easily confused based on observations of children's behaviors?
Recently, an assistive listening device manufacturer compared the behavioral characteristics of children with ADD/ADHD, to children with mild hearing loss. They discovered extraordinary similarities among the two groups.
Both groups have academic difficulty and both give inappropriate responses to questions. Neither group completes assignments, they both exhibit trouble sustaining attention during oral presentations, and for both, following directions is problematic. Impulsiveness and acting out are common to both groups, as is a poor self concept. Both groups of children exhibited low self esteem, fewer social interactions with their peers, and greater stress. Members of both groups were more likely to drop out of school. Both groups tended to repeat grades imposing a significant financial burden on the schools, and of course, their families.
Could this mean that some children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD could actually have mild or minimal hearing loss?
Portrait Health Centers, the industry leader in the treatment of learning disorders for children and adults, shares tips, news, and advice about the treatment, diagnosis, and therapy options for people struggling with Attention Deficit (ADHD) and other learning disorders.