Auditory Processing Evaluation

What is an Auditory Processing Evaluation?

An Auditory Processing Evaluation is used to assess a person's ability to analyze acoustic events over time and to check if that person has an auditory processing disorder. To evaluate a child's auditory processing, an audiologist will perform a series of tests in a sound-treated room, delivering a variety of signals and analyzing the responses to them. 

 

Children with Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) may have difficulty understanding speech in loud environments, telling the difference between similar sounding speech such as "bike" and "bite", and also following directions. Understanding how children interpret and decode information is crucial to identifying and treating auditory processing disorders.

Types of Auditory Processing Evaluations 

  • Dichotic - Dichotic tests require the listener to attend to two signals, one to ear each, at the same time. This is similar to sitting at a dinner table with family members all around and having the ability to listen to more than one speaker or just focus your attention on a speaker from one side. Binaural integration and binaural separation require "cross-talk" between the two sides of the brain through a structure called the corpus callosum. 

  • Low-redundancy Monaural Speech - The ability to understand speech that is distorted in some way. The brain has an innate ability to figure out speech information, even when parts of it are missing. Filtered words testing and timed compressed speech allow us to evaluate how well the auditory system understands distorted speech information. Specifically designed test materials allow us to look at this function of auditory processing.  

  • Temporal Processing - Random gap-detection tests and tests of auditory sequencing, such as the pitch-patterns test help us to understand if a person can hear the order of sounds and information in a sequence. This is also related to understanding sequences of events, such as what happened first, second, and third in a story. 

  • Binaural Interaction - Tests used to evaluate how the two ears work together as a team. Both ears process information from both sides of the head at the same time. Binaural integration allows us to listen to multiple sounds at the same time while binaural separation allows us to listen to sounds on one side of the head while filtering out sounds on the other side. 

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