Central Auditory Processing Disorder

CAPD is not easily defined. There are many different views and varied definitions as to what constitutes CAPD; particularly in Australia. Many audiologists and Speech Pathologists use the ASHA (2005) definition that highlights the dysfunction of the central auditory nervous system (CANS). Therefore CAPD diagnosis requires a battery of tests designed to assess various functions of the CANS. Not all tests that assess auditory processing are assessing CANS dysfunction but they can be useful in developing an individual's management plan.

Some of the characteristics of CAPD are:;

  • difficulty following conversation in noise
  • difficulty concentrating in noise
  • difficulty following complex/lengthy instructions
  • miss hearing

CAPD can coexist with other disorders such as ADHD, Language and Learning disorders but is not caused by these. ASHA (2005)

ENH Audiology assess both children and adults for CAPD.  Due to the variability of maturation of the CANS many of the tests for CAPD can not be interpreted reliably until 7 or 8 years of age. For younger children who are suspected of CAP difficulties we recommend  hearing assessment, implementation of listening tactics and assessment by a speech pathologist to provide auditory/language training. Formal CAPD assessment is then recommended if progress is not made by 8 years of age.

Our CAPD assessment starts with a hearing test and middle ear test. It is important to establish that a child has 'normal hearing' before assessing for CAPD. Some children suspected of CAPD have fluctuating hearing loss due to middle ear dysfunction which has not been diagnosed.

Our CAPD test battery includes tests that assess temporal processing, temporal patterning, binaural integration, binaural interaction and Listening in spatial noise. A written report and recommendations based on an individual's results is then provided.