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Central Auditory Processing Disorder

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

Evaluation

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

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

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