Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder

There are many symptoms that can indicate an auditory processing disorder is present. There are varying degrees of APD, so a person with mild APD may only have a few symptoms while a person with severe APD may have most or all of them.

  • May behave as if there is a hearing loss even when testing shows hearing is fine.
  • May appear to have ‘selective listening’.
  • May have a short attention span.
  • Says “Huh?” or “What?” a lot
  • Has difficulty keeping up with conversations
  • Does not respond to questions or responds with an inappropriate answer.
  • May have social issues with peers in school
  • Misunderstands what is said in the presence of competing noise (air conditioning, in the car, etc.)
  • Difficulty with auditory memory
  • Difficulty following multi-part directions
  • Misunderstands what is said. For example “Please get me the broom.” May sound like “Keys get me your room.”
  • Confuses similar sounds like ‘m’ and ‘n’ or ‘b’ and ‘d’.
  • Difficulty with phonics, particularly issues with blending sounds to make words.
  • Auditory distractibility caused by inability to filter out sounds.
  • Sensitivity to loud noises.
  • May get over stimulated in noisy places (like a birthday party).
  • History of ear infections.

Other conditions that may be caused by APD:

  • Hyperacusis (oversensitivity to loud noises)
  • Speech delay
  • Expressive/receptive language disorder
  • Attention issues that can look like ADD.
  • Sensory processing issues

Other conditions that may be co-morbid with APD:

  • ADD
  • Dysgraphia
  • Reading disorder
  • Visual processing disorder
  • Sensory processing disorder
  • Hypotonia

Issues in school that may be indications of APD:

  • Learning to read is difficult, especially blending sounds to make a work. May sight read instead of reading phonetically.
  • Spelling is poor
  • Writing sentences or paragraphs is a challenge
  • Cannot follow multi-step directions
  • May misunderstand what is said
  • May appear to have an attention problem (probably compensating by looking around to see what everybody else is doing)
  • May complain about noises like the air conditioning or kids whispering, moving papers, dropping pencils, etc.
  • My be very tired or irritable at the end of the school day
  • May have social issues misunderstanding rules of games on the playground or simply not talking when in social groups
  • May isolate from others during recess periods