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Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, reduces the brain's ability to process sounds. Usually, someone with CAPD hears normally but struggles to understand speech, especially in noisy environments.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with multi-step directions
  • Easily distracted or bothered by background noise
  • Behavioral issues
  • Poor listening skills
  • Disorganized and forgetful
  • Language and/or speech delays


Most often, CAPD does not show up as hearing loss on a routine exam. It requires a series of tests by an audiologist.

The assessment evaluates abilities in the areas of:

  • Speed or processing (Temporal Processing)
  • Listening in noise (Auditory Figure-Ground)
  • Listening to degraded speech (Auditory Decoding)
  • Listening with both ears (Binaural Integration)
  • Listening with one ear while suppressing the other (Binaural Separation)


Treatment typically includes recommendations for environmental and educational modifications, such as:

  • Always make eye contact when talking to the individual
  • Ask your child's teacher to give him or her preferential classroom seating, away from distracting noises and close to the teacher's area of instruction
  • Use the "buddy system" by asking a peer to assist the individual
  • Use visual cues to alert the individual or gain their attention
  • Make instructions short and simple, and ask the individual to repeat the instructions back to you
  • Speak at a slightly slower rate and a slightly louder volume
  • Try to eliminate background noise when the individual needs to focus on one task

Request an appointment through MyChart.

Additional Resources

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 
Kids Health: Auditory Processing Disorder


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