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Auditory Processing Disorder Assessment

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?

Despite normal peripheral hearing sensitivity and intelligence, children and adults with auditory processing disorder (APD) have an inability or decreased ability to attend, discriminate, recognize or comprehend auditory information. Individuals with APD also have difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise, and following spoken instructions. Children with an auditory processing disorder often behave as if they have a hearing loss, and parents and teachers often complain that the child is ignoring them or not paying attention. When concerns exist, an APD evaluation can help to determine if there are medical aspects of the disorder that require treatment, to promote appropriate educational planning and to implement interventions such as environmental modifications, management strategies, auditory training, and/or FM assistive listening devices as necessary. Prerequisites for an APD evaluation include normal hearing sensitivity, normal cognitive abilities and a minimum age of seven years.

What is an APD evaluation?

During the APD evaluation, a battery of tests designed to assess auditory processing abilities is administered to evaluate, diagnose and formulate intervention strategies for persons suspected of having auditory processing disorders. The specific tests selected depend on the age of the child, the referring complaint, test reliability and validity, and the specific auditory process assessed by each test. If an audiological evaluation to confirm normal hearing sensitivity has not previously been done, a peripheral audiologic evaluation including acoustic reflex testing, otoacoustic emissions and speech-in-noise testing will be completed prior to the tests of central auditory processing. An integral component of the APD assessment includes a thorough case history and observational checklists to be completed by the parent and classroom teacher. The entire APD assessment takes approximately two hours, depending on the client's age and needs. Once testing is completed, a report detailing the results, interpretation of results and recommendations will be provided.

Our goal is to provide a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating and managing auditory processing disorders. Therefore, a language assessment is recommended through our Speech-Language Clinic as part of our Language, Listening and Learning Program.

Tests from the following behavioral categories are included in the APD evaluation:

  • Dichotic - Dichotic tests present a different stimulus to each ear simultaneously in order to assess binaural integration (repeat everything heard in both ears) or binaural separation (ignore what is heard in one ear and repeat what is heard in the other ear). Linguistically loaded and nonlinguistically loaded dichotic tests are selected.
  • Low-redundancy Monaural Speech - These tests, presented to each ear separately, modify the acoustic stimulus to reduce the signal's redundancy through low-pass filtering, added noise, etc., in order to test auditory closure ability, the ability to fill in missing components (e.g., phonemes, syllables, words).
  • Temporal Processing - Tests using tonal stimuli, require the listener to discriminate sound based on a sequence of auditory stimuli or temporal order in order to assess pattern perception and temporal functioning abilities.
  • Binaural Interaction - These tests present similar stimuli to each ear in a non-simultaneous or sequential manner in order to assess binaural integration or interaction between the two ears.


The speech and hearing clinics are located on ASU's Tempe campus. To schedule an appointment, please contact the ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic.

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