Poll: Do you have Auditory Processing Disorder / Ask me, I have ...

wiki link for Auditory Processing Disorder

I have Auditory Processing Disorder, and have had to deal with this my entire life. Casual acquaintances of mine either don’t know I have any trouble hearing, or only know I can’t hear out of one ear. There are less than a dozen people that understand the problem is far more profound.

Ask away, if you want. I won’t get offended.

I seem to have slightly more problems distinguishing individuals when in a noisy environment than a lot of people, although my hearing always tests as normal for my age. So maybe a little.

So what are your symptoms? Your link covers a bunch of different ones.

To one degree or another, my symptoms are almost all of the above.

In addition to the disorder, I also have physical hearing loss; 20-40 dB loss in one ear, and about 50-80 dB loss in the other. Amplifying the one side wouldn’t help as much as you would expect because my brain doesn’t process the sound like it should. Cross-amplification (mic on the right side, speaker on the left) could help, but I don’t bother.

Going down the list of symptoms:

In a quiet environment I can hear normal conversation levels, although louder speech helps. In a very noisy environment, I might be able to distinguish between “Cat” and “Hat”, but could not understand “Umbrella”; I might hear your sounds just fine, but have no idea what you are saying–all I process is noise. Oddly enough, there are times that I will not understand what is said and a minute later suddenly understand what I heard.

While I can follow conversations and remember information presented orally, I follow written information more easily.

I have problems carrying out multi-step directions given orally; it helps if I hear only one direction at a time. If I can jot the steps down, on the other hand, I have no difficulty.

I have have moderate-to-poor listening skills and sometimes need more time to process verbal information (the the speaker’s accent makes a huge difference). While growing up I had a spotty academic performance and had behavior problems.

I confused syllable sequences and had problems developing vocabulary and understanding language. As a teen I tried to learn another language and after a year and a half I gave up without having learned much at all.

Oddly enough, once I developed basic reading skills, I never had difficulty with reading, comprehension, and vocabulary. Spelling still trips me up at times. There are words I know in written form and in verbal form without realizing they are the same words.

If the speaker has a heavy accent or if there is background noise, I understand more when the speaker speaks slowly.

I hate bars, clubs, rock concerts, and other social locations with background noise.

I enjoy one-on-one conversations, but hate being in larger unstructured groups–I prefer written communication.

I hate multimedia presentations where you have to look and listen at the same time–following the visuals interferes with processing the sound–I hear better if I close my eyes.

I also seem to have cluttering, a fluency disorder marked by word and phrase repetitions.

Incidentally, while my writing skills are not the best, I have a somewhat higher than average level of intelligence. I have a math degree and did well as a computer programmer.

Does this issue worsen with physical or mental exhaustion? I have some days where it seems to take forever for me to process what people say.
Also, is music enjoyable to you?

Yes, hearing comprehension can get worse with exhaustion. When I’m very alert I can multitask hearing speech and other tasks. The more tired I become, the less I can multitask and the more I must focus on listening. When I’m very exhausted, I have trouble hearing speech even if that’s all I’m trying to do.

Note, however, that there is a difference between hearing speech and understanding what people mean. There are elements of both issues in this disorder, but for me it is primarily about the former–actually hearing what is said.

Suppose you say “Turn off the light”:

In a quiet environment I will understand you.

In a mildly noisy environment I might hear “Burn often night.” I have learned how to compensate by lip reading. I think about what I “heard”, consider the context, rule out what you couldn’t have said because it didn’t match your lips, and deduce what your intent was. This takes time and effort, so I can’t multitask. If you have continued speaking, all hope of understanding is lost.

In a very noisy environment I will hear “______________”. I hear the sound you make, but have no comprehension. My brain is unable to filter the speech from the noise. The same goes for words in music.

Because I have to focus on translating the sound into speech, understanding what people are saying can be problematic. Exhaustion, background noise, foreign accents, and other distractions all play a part in making understanding more difficult. Often I am fairly sure I have heard most or all the words, but I am forced to either stop trying to understand what the sentence meant or I stop trying to hear the next sentence that is being said.

I enjoy listening to music, but hate background music. Background music just becomes noise that makes doing other tasks, especially understanding speech, more difficult. Because I need to focus on listening to music for me to get any enjoyment out of it, I don’t listen to music very often–I have far too many other things I want to do in my day.

Because of my hearing loss, I don’t hear quiet music. Because of my processing disorder, I can’t understand very loud music. Music that throws a lot of sounds together, like heavy metal, screamo, or even some classical music stops being music and just becomes noise.

Wow. That describes me almost to a T. THe part I hate most about it is, if someone says something I have to stop and process the sound into something that makes sense, which means I tend to pause a few seconds before answering. Especially on the phone, the speaker tends to assume I’m not paying attention or didn’t hear and repeats it LOUDER, which means not only am I trying to dechiper the first statement but trying to weed out the repitition, which just makes the process harder. Makes me want to scream, “I heard you, I’m just trying to figure out what the hell I heard.”

All my life people have thought I was weird for not buying/listening to music, but you’re exactly right, background music is annoying because it’s distracting. I’ll only play music if I can devote all my attention to listening to it, or want to torture my coworkers with Christmas music (December’s a slow month for me, too bad for them)

Incidentally, I just listened to this clip last week:
ABC news, Sound of Hope: helping kids understand words

The hearing difficulties described are exactly what I was suffering when I was in kindergarten. Speech was almost meaningless. For the most part, I learned to read before I learned to hear.

Voted “goldfish” because I do know what it is (so no “whaaaa?”), I don’t have it myself, nor do I know anyone who does have it.

Though possibly my slight difficulty in understanding people if I can’t see their faces might count, it’s not enough to be diagnosed with anything. I joke that I can’t hear without my glasses :D.

Hmmm, that sorta sounds (heh) like a more serious version of my “problem”.

If you say something simple to me like “take out the trash” out of the blue, I’ll often say “what did you say?” and about the time I finish saying that I’ve now realized what you said, so there is certainly a processing delay there.

A complex series of verbal instructions? That can often be trouble for me, unless its a series of tasks I am already generally familiar with.

I can’t stand extraneous noise or loud noise or constant noise. As my high school algebra teacher like to say (and she would write up your ass up in a heartbeat)…“I’m allergic to noise”.

If you start talking to me without me expecting you to or getting my attention first, I generally won’t understand it at all. It just won’t make mental sense to me. Its kinda of like if I don’t hear and understand the first word, all the following words are just random noise.

:smiley: I have screamed that! I was having a bad day.
One of my best friends listens to music all the time. Even though we have been friends for 40 years, he just doesn’t get how it doesn’t do anything for me. Yesterday we were using skype to chat, and he wrote “you don’t listen [to music] much do you?” :dubious: You’ve known me for 40 years, and you still need to ask? :rolleyes:

:smiley: This message brought to you by Captain Obvious!

I have a mild form of APD, or at least I think so. I still like music, though, as long as I’m not talking to anybody. At work I use a mp3 player and if I run into people, they tend to speak softly since it’s night, which means I often have no idea what they just said. I’ll go with “good morning!” and if that makes them look confused I know they said something completely different. I’ve sometimes wondered if I should tell them I’m listening to music but given how short the conversations I have at work I’ve figured it’s not worth the effort.

I usually never talk about it with my friends, since it would just sound of me wanting to be a more special snowflake or something. I think the only time I mentioned it was when a friend told me the same short request three times and I still couldn’t get it - it was my turn to get the drinks and he wanted some foreign beer I had never heard of in a loud bar. I went :dubious: :confused: :frowning: and finally just told him to tell the bartender what he wanted.

I think I might. When and how did you get diagnosed with it?

I have a lot of trouble hearing in situations where there’s a lot of noise. I’ve always asked people to repeat words, even when I was a kid, and according to the hearing screenings at school didn’t have a hearing loss (I suspect I might have a hearing loss now).

I have always had a much easier time processing written information than spoken words, for as far back as I can remember (I can’t remember a time before I could read).

I listen to music, but not while trying to hear anything else.

I have the captions on all the time on my TV, because I have an easier time processing the captions than the speech of people on TV.

Is there any kind of treatment for it?

Many can relate to that! You lip-read to augment your hearing.

That skill is one of many techniques that can help those with Auditory Processing Disorder, but is also useful to many without the disorder.


Oh, yea.

Sometimes, the string of “just random noise” suddenly “clicks” and I understand not just what you are saying, but what you did say.

While reading your comment, I’ve just realized that before I speak I usually wave my hand or touch the person I’m talking to. I’m making the assumption that they need (or would at least appreciate) the heads-up that I’m about to speak. Silly. ** I** need that heads-up; they don’t!

A little bit of it maybe. Sometimes the words just seem to be random noise until I figure out what the context is. And I can’t understand the lyrics to any music.

Yes, I definitely have a mild form of this.

If I’m in a room with a lot of background noise, if you say something to me I’ll know you’re talking but I won’t be able to make out what you’re saying. It also helps if I’m looking at you when you talk to me. If I’m in the car and we’re gonna have a conversation, radio must go off. I usually use closed captioning when I’m watching something because unless I’m either alone or everyone around me is quiet, I’ll miss what’s being said on the TV.

I also have a lot of trouble distinguishing what direction sounds are coming from, particularly sirens. Everyone else in the car will know by listening that the fire truck is ahead of us (before actually seeing it), heading in our direction, but to me it’ll sound like it’s coming from behind.

For me it’s more annoying than anything else.

I have never been “officially” diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder, but that is because I grew up before they had that term, and I’ve only recently read of it myself. Since the entire wiki article describes me to a T (with only one exception), and the “Sound of Hope” video perfectly describes my kindergarten and first grade experience, I have no doubt about the diagnosis.

My mother knew something was wrong when I was only a few weeks old. It took a year or two before she convinced my doctor that she was right, and they waited until I was four before doing surgery. I STILL remember the trauma of waking up in the hospital, bombarded with these very scary sensations that I later learned was sound! I started kindergarten barely understanding simple speech, but I was able to read beginner books.

:slight_smile: I have fond memories of studying picture dictionaries & encyclopedias by myself to learn words. Later I learned how to say and hear those words.

Throughout school I’ve had speech therapy, behavior counseling, guidance counseling, etc. While all of the one-on-one therapies and counseling helped, I suspect that having a better diagnosis of what I was suffering from would have made the therapies more effective.

Since I’ve learned adequate coping skills (primarily on my own), and since I am in my 50s now, I’m not seeking any treatment.

Yes. However, the younger the child, the more effective treatments are.

Read the wiki section on Remediations and training.
I haven’t read it yet, but I suspect the book, The Sound of Hope: Recognizing, Coping with, and Treating Your Child’s Auditory Processing Disorder, by Lois Kam Heymann, has valuable tips.

The older you are, the more I think coping strategies rather than treatments will help. You may also want to get your hearing checked with equipment better than what school hearing screenings use.

  • Let your boss (or teacher) know your difficulties. If there are simple steps they can take to make you a more effective employee or student, they will probably do them. Suggest simple steps for them, if you can.
  • Plan where you will sit in group settings. Arrange where others sit, if you can, to maximize your ability to hear everyone (or to minimize the distraction noise-makers create).
  • Avoid situations where there’s a lot of noise. I know–easier said than done.
  • Take advantage of written information.
  • Enjoy listening to music when not trying to hear anything else. I like reading lyrics or sheet music while listening to music. Lyric-picker.com is the most useful site I’ve found for lyrics.
  • Take advantage of TV captions.

Most of these bullet points are repeats of what you wrote. I’ve done this to point out that you know your own difficulties more than anyone else. When you think about your difficulties, you can identify the areas you need to work on more easily than others.

This may sound trivial, but one of the most effective strategies I’ve found is learning about my strengths and weaknesses, and learning to celebrate who I am. The less I stress over my failings and the more I learn how to enjoy who I am, the less of a problem I seem to have.

Good luck.

I can’t distinguish sound direction either. I think that it is not from APD, but rather because I’m essentially deaf in one ear. While most of my problems may be irritating, this is actually a hazard. I’m glad I live in a society where I don’t need to distinguish sound direction to survive.

Very interesting. I have had and do have a lot of these issues. I have a diagnosis of ADD-PI.

My biggest pet peeve ever is that when I can’t comprehend what a person is saying, they usually repeat themselves multiple times with the exact same inflection, tone, and volume. If you just give me something a little different it will usually jog my brain into hearing your gibberish as words with meaning…