In honor of World Listening Day, we’re looking at sensory processing and the auditory system. The auditory system is how we hear sounds in our environment. This intricate system includes your outer ear, inner structures, and brain regions.
What is Auditory Processing?
Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder
Difficulty processing and understanding speech can lead to significant problems at home and school. Children with APD might also have learning disorders, speech delays, or other diagnoses like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
- Reading, spelling, and learning issues
- Trouble understanding rapid speech
- Difficulty determining the origin of a sound
- Trouble learning songs or short stories
- Unable to understand jokes or sarcasm (older children)
- Problems understanding language in loud environments
- Frequent requests that others repeat what they have said
- Difficulty following instructions
- Trouble paying attention
- Easily distracted
Symptoms of Auditory Hypersensitivity
- Easily distracted by sounds other people would consider small or insignificant
- Trouble tolerating “everyday” sounds like blenders, vacuums, etc.
- Extreme reactions to “everyday” sounds: screaming, covering ears, etc.
- Telling you certain sounds cause them “pain”
- Easily startled and then unable to calm down afterward
How to Help with Auditory Processing Issues
- Getting them tested
- Getting a Speech Therapy referral
- Give your child extra time to process speech/instructions
- Communicate your child’s needs to teachers and other adults
- Role-play different situations with your child to try and see what their challenges are
- Meet with teachers to discuss potential strategies
- Expressing empathy and listening to your child
- For sensitivity - over-the-ear headphones can mute environmental sounds or allow them to listen to soothing music
- Warn your child of impending loud noises so they can prepare or leave the room
Conclusion: Sensory Processing and the Auditory System