Auditory training is designed for anyone struggling to hear. This training is for adults and children, those with hearing loss and those with “normal” audiograms. People who benefit from this program typically have difficulty hearing in background noise or have been diagnosed with auditory processing disorder (formerly called central auditory processing disability).
What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Despite having normal hearing sensitivity, people with auditory processing disorders (APD) have difficulty processing and interpreting auditory information. The ear detects the sounds in a normal way and then transmits the orally presented sound to the brain. The child or adult has problems interpreting or understanding it accurately or efficiently. It is estimated that as much as 20 percent of the school age population has APD.
Signs of Auditory Processing Disorder
• Difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise
• Difficulty with reading, spelling and reading comprehension
• Difficulty remembering auditory information
• Difficulty organizing sounds in a proper sequence
• Problems successfully combining auditory and visual information
• Difficulty with localization of sound
• Problems attending to different information presented to opposite ears
• A consistent delay in response to a question or instructions
How is Auditory Processing Disorder Diagnosed?
At London Audiology Consultants, we primarily use the Buffalo Model for diagnosing and treating auditory processing issues, which was developed by Jack Katz, Ph.D. while at the University of Buffalo. We assess patients ages 6 years and older (age 4 and 5 can be screened) on the degree to which they deviate from the norms on several listening tests.
The tests measure a person’s performance in four categories:
Decoding: The ability to process phonemes (the sounds of speech) quickly and accurately.
Tolerance-Fading Memory: The ability to understand speech while in competing noise and the necessary short-term memory capacity to do so.
Organization: The ability to organize and store orally presented information in the brain.
b>Integration: The ability for the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate.
Treating Auditory Processing
Most commercially available programs provide practice related to general auditory processing skills and compensation strategies. However, the Buffalo Model’s treatment, which has a long history of success, targets the specific areas of weakness identified in the APD testing. We identify the person’s specific auditory processing deficits, which are associated with specific academic/occupational and personal communication difficulties. We then train the auditory nervous system to process speech and other sounds more accurately and efficiently, focusing on the areas of deficit.
Working one-to-one with a professional on auditory training can develop the skills and strategies specific to the person’s deficit.
Auditory Training with Hearing Loss
For people with hearing loss, hearing aids will give you access to the sounds (audibility). Auditory training will focus on how your brain is processing that information. The main areas of focus are identifying and telling the difference between speech sounds, listening in noise, and putting speech sounds together to make words. There are several other areas that can be worked on as auditory training is individualized for each patient.