Treatment Protocols for People with Central Auditory Processing Disorder/CAPD

There are many good reasons why Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is hard to diagnose accurately. The problem is not because the children cannot hear words and phrases being spoken to them, but because their brains have an inability to interpret the words and grasp their meaning, which implies that conventional hearing tests do not always identify CAPD. One more reason it is difficult to diagnose is because kids often acquire complex coping behaviors. These children can be experts at using expressions or reading lips to hide their problem.

These particular characteristics of CAPD also make treatment of the disorder tricky, because any individual wanting to enhance the child’s speech comprehension must constantly be aware of them and look for ways to work around them. Unfortunately there is no definitive cure or therapy for CAPD that works consistently well across all kids. Each therapy plan is highly individualized and crafted based on the patients’ limitations. With that being said, there are a variety of treatment protocols that may greatly enhance the developmental abilities of children with Central Auditory Processing Disorder.

CAPD therapy falls into 3 broad categories: direct treatment, environmental change and compensatory strategies.

  • Direct Treatment – Direct treatment refers to the use of computer-assisted learning and 1-on-1 sessions to make the most of the brain’s natural plasticity, its capacity to transform itself, and establish new ways of processing and thinking. These kinds of techniques include the use of the “Fast ForWord” educational software from Scientific Education or Hasbro’s “Simon” game to improve kids’ capacity to discriminate, order, and process the sounds they hear. Some therapists use dichotic training to cultivate the childrens’ ability to hear multiple sounds in different ears and process them the right way, while others use the “Earobics” program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to improve phonological awareness.
  • Environmental Change – In the category of environmental change one strategy is lowering the quantity of ambient noise via soundproofing and putting in acoustic tiles, wall hangings or curtains because background noise is proven to make it more difficult for an individual with CAPD to comprehend speech. Increasing the volume of selective voices in the classroom is also helpful; the instructor wears a microphone and the CAPD pupil wears a tiny receiver that enhances the instructor’s voice to make it more distinguishable from other sounds or speakers. One more environmental modification is better lighting. A well lit face is a lot easier for a person with Central Auditory Processing Disorder to “read” for cues.
  • Compensatory Strategies – Approaches that focus on helping the CAPD learners to improve their attention, memory, language and problem-solving skills are commonly called compensatory strategies. These strategies give pupils enhanced coping skills and techniques that enable them to succeed at learning, and also make them learn to take responsibility for their own academic progress. Techniques and strategies of this type consist of drills in solving word problems and active listening.

The overall message is that treatments are available if your child is diagnosed with CAPD, but remember that step one is properly diagnosing the condition, and doing this as early as possible. Keep in mind that our skilled hearing expertshearing experts are here to assist you in any way possible and to point you to other trusted area experts for the best CAPD diagnostic and therapy choices.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder Essentials

Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is a hearing disorder in which the trouble lies not with the ears, but with the brain. With Central Auditory Processing Disorder, your ears have no problem hearing sounds (especially the sounds associated with speech) properly, but something is affecting the brain’s ability to interpret these sounds. The disorder is thus characterized by a lack of coordination between the ears and the brain.

As many as 2 to 5 percent of school-age children are affected by CAPD including roughly half of all children that have been diagnosed with a learning disability. Children with CAPD often cannot discern the sounds of different words even when the words are spoken loud and clear. This inability to understand words often becomes worse in noisy environments, but is not as present in quiet environments.

CAPD is often difficult to detect, because when children’s hearing is tested in a quiet room, they can clearly hear the pure tones they hear through the testing equipment, and they similarly have no apparent problems hearing and interpreting speech in non-noisy environments. But even though their audiogram results may appear normal, children with CAPD often have difficulty locating where sounds are coming from, difficulty discerning the differences between two similar sounds, difficulty recognizing patterns of repetitive high and low sounds, and difficulty being able to hear more than one person speaking at the same time.

These symptoms may carry over into other areas of life, as the children struggle to cope with not being able to understand people speaking to them. For example, they may become easily distracted by sudden noises, have difficulty following directions, develop reading, spelling, and language difficulties, become disorganized and forgetful, or have trouble following conversations. When given standard hearing tests, these children appear to have normal hearing, so these symptoms are often confused with or mistaken for signs of other problems such as depression or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This misdiagnosis is further complicated by the fact that a child may in fact have ADHD or some other learning disorder and also have CAPD.

Properly detecting and diagnosing CAPD as eary in a child’s life as possible is crucial to avoid developmental delays both social and academic. Early diagnosis is key to ensuring that the condition is resolved, which is why it is important, if you have noticed any of the above symptoms in your children, to have their hearing professionally tested.

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