APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) Symptoms of not being able to understand what is being said even though you can hear it


Are you familiar with a disorder called APD (information processing disorder)?

It is not a major disorder, but it is broadly classified as hearing loss.

This APD is characterized by the inability to understand what the other person is saying, even though the sounds sound normal.

For those who can hear normally, this may seem incomprehensible, but they can hear sounds but cannot recognize them as words.

It is not a major symptom, so it is not well known, and many people are probably suffering from it without knowing it.

Let's take a look at what APD (information processing disorder) is.

Difference between Hearing Loss and APD

APD is an information processing disorder, and in a broad sense is included in hearing loss.
It is a relatively major disorder, especially in Europe and the United States, but it is not well recognized in Japan.

The characteristic feature of APD is that it is overwhelmingly difficult to understand sound information, such as words, compared to written information, even though the person can hear sounds.

The symptoms of APD are similar to those of normal hearing loss, but the major difference is that it does not show any abnormality in a hearing test (pure tone test).

The hearing test that we usually perform during physical examinations is a pure tone test.

It measures how loud a sound of a certain frequency can be heard.

With APD, you can hear sound, so this hearing test shows no abnormality.

Therefore, many people are confused by the fact that there is no problem with the hearing test even if they cannot understand what the other person is saying.

If you have normal hearing loss, it is easy to understand because abnormalities also appear in this pure tone test, but APD is difficult because nothing abnormal appears here.

The ability to hear is related to hearing ability and brain function.

Hearing loss is a condition in which hearing is impaired and the ability to hear is impaired
So the condition in which brain function is impaired and the ability to hear is impaired is called APD.

Incidentally, there is also a hybrid condition of hearing loss and APD called ANSD.

Main Symptoms of APD

The main symptoms of APD are basically almost identical to those of hearing loss.

The only difference is that it is not caught by the pure tone test.

  • Frequent mishearing and misinterpretation
  • Inability to hear in noisy environments
  • Immediately forgets or cannot comprehend what is said verbally
  • Cannot hear fast or low voices
  • Inability to listen to the end of a long story
  • These are some of the symptoms.

The same symptoms apply to those with hearing loss.
This is why you suspect hearing loss, but you are puzzled because your hearing test shows no abnormalities.

Please take a look at the article "APD Symptoms and Examples: Summary" to learn more about the specific problems associated with APD.

How APD is diagnosed

Unlike hearing loss, APD is not caught by hearing tests.
So how do we know if we have APD?

The usual procedure for diagnosing APD is as follows.

  • Basic hearing test
  • Electrophysiological testing
  • Auditory Cognitive Testing
  • Visual Cognitive Testing
  • Examination of intelligence, language development, etc.
  • Questionnaire for psychological and other aspects

Please refer to the article "Diagnosis and testing methods for APD (Auditory Processing Disorder)" for more information.

In fact, 7% of children have APD

APD is not a major disorder in Japan, but a surprising 7% of children have APD.
APD in children is sometimes referred to as LiD (Listening difficulties), which is the same meaning as APD, but LiD is also introduced in "LiD (Listening difficulty) is a symptom of inability to hear even when a child’s hearing is normal".

Moreover, more than half of children with APD also have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).
Children in multiple language environments may also develop similar symptoms due to language confusion.

Children are geniuses at learning languages, but it is not too late to learn a second language even after they have built a solid foundation in their native language first.
If only we could get them to learn a language early and speak English like a native! Many parents think that the earlier the better, but it is important to understand that the earlier the better is not always the case.

Although this is not a very major issue, APD can be a problem for many children.

For more information on APD in children, please refer to the article "APD in children is hard to recognize Early detection affects language development".

Just knowing that there is a disorder called APD (information processing disorder) will make all the difference in how we respond, so please keep this in mind.

There are four main causes of APD in adults

APD in children is often ADHD or ASD.
Of course, adults also have APD, and the majority of these are caused by developmental disorders.

In this case, the developmental disability may not be recognized as a child, but as an adult, the person may start working and then realize that it is interfering with his or her life.

Other reasons for APD may be psychological or damage to the brain.

The causes of APD are discussed in detail in the article "4 types of APD in adults Characteristics and causes of each type"

Please refer to this article for more information.

How to deal with APD

If you are actually diagnosed with APD, you will need to make an effort to create a comfortable listening environment and assure yourself of the information.

Specifically, I would ask to speak with you in a quiet place, and to contact you via email for important conversations, rather than just verbally.

For more information on how to deal with APD, please refer to the article "If you realize you have APD, train to listen and create an environment".


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