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

My daughter has it and she goes to speech therapy twice a week.
She has trouble answering who, what, where and why questions, but lately she’s gotten much better with “where”. She has sound sensitivity, to the point that the low hum of the A/C in her classroom was bothering her. We have to make sure when the air raid test sirens (tornado sirens I think they call 'em these days) go off on Wednesday afternoons that she has her headphones on or she has a panic attack.

We’ve had a lot of success with listening therapy with the Vital Sounds and the Sennheiser headset.

I should also mention she has mild autism so I’m never sure if it’s the auditory processing or the autism that causes certain reactions.

Some psychologist propose that the reason autistic people have such difficulty is that they process all sensory input differently than those who are neurotypical. In other words, the APD may be a symptoms of the mild autism. At the very least, they are often comorbid.

I don’t remember ever having heard of this disorder before…but I often have to explain to people, “I’m sorry, I don’t really process information very well when it’s spoken…” I have been diagnosed with ADD and I did got to speech therapy as a child. Hmmmm. I can easily process the written word, but if someone reads aloud to me (for instance) I usually just don’t process it. Sometimes there is a lag and then it “clicks” but sometimes not so much.

If you have an easier time “processing” music than speech, is that APD? I have a natural (and somewhat trained) musical ear, but due to ADD I tend to blank out a lot on oral instruction, and following cocktail conversation for more than a few minutes at a time is tedious and unrewarding.

Perhaps experts who have studied these disorders could answer these issues better than I could. I studied math and computer programming!

Since I have lived with APD my whole life, I CAN speak with some authority on what it is like living with it, but not how it relates to other disorders.

Rushgeekgirl, I’m sorry for what your child has to go through, but I don’t have any experience with autism.
raventhief, I may have a light touch of ADHD myself. rhubarbarin mentioned a variant I had never seen before, ADHD-PI, that seems to describe some of my issues, but Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) describes me the best.

Beware of Doug, I suspect most, if not all, of what you have described is due to ADHD (wiki ADHD overview, and ADHD predominantly inattentive subtype).

If you can hear the words of oral instruction without much effort, but “blank out” on the comprehension of the instruction, that is most likely ADHD. If, on the other hand, just hearing the words (never mind the comprehension) can be a struggle, that could be APD.

Likewise, if you can hear cocktail conversation, and just find following it tedious and unrewarding, that also sounds like ADHD. When you have APD, cocktail conversation is VERY difficult to hear. This is because when there are several people in the room speaking at once, even when the room is otherwise quiet, it is difficult to separate the two or more vocals–the brain basically hears it as one sound.

This seems to be a point most people I talk to don’t quite get.

If John and Mark are both talking, most people seem to be able to listen to John or listen to Mark. They may be distracted by the other person’s speech, and might even miss a few words here and there, but overall most people can focus in on one person and ignore the other.

I on the other hand, tend to hear john-mark noise. Not speech. My brain has not learned how to filter out some sounds and focus in on other sounds. I end up hearing a mix of some of John’s speech and some of Mark’s speech, with a lot of blanks in-between where I understand nothing.

I have learned coping strategies, such as turning my body to block most of the noise coming from John so I can hear Mark. Or, telling Mark to shut up so I can hear John, but this usually doesn’t go over very well (I wonder why :wink: ). I might also draw one over to a quieter area, and place my ear close to them while they are speaking. Of course, I also stare at the speaker’s mouth–lip reading helps a lot!

I’ve never been tested for APD but I suspect I have it. My father did have it (diagnosed.) The older I get, the worse it gets, too. I am 53 and female. It’s not an impediment in my life in any way, really, although I do have to make adjustments for it.

I had some severe ear infections as a child, a possible cause.

I love music but cannot abide background music, TV etc.
I get the john-mark noise thing! I do a lot of polite nodding and smiling, and lip-reading, and concentrating, at parties and bars and such.
Noises and voices seem to come at me with equal intensity; I can’t separate out the sounds at all.
Only a few people I know speak clearly enough for me to tolerate or enjoy a chatty phone conversation with. And, it has to be quiet - no other conversation around me, no music, TV, etc.
Thank doG for texting!

I was reading by age three, and have never had problems with language, reading, writing and such. So that part doesn’t fit me at all.
But I was “inattentive” and fidgety it school as a child, don’t do well with verbal instructions and have been diagnosed with adult ADHD.


Also the “heads up” before speaking to me…that too! Friends and people I work with are in the habit of getting my attention before speaking to me, otherwise they have to repeat themselves.

Also I’ve always had to have the TV turned up louder than people around me, even mild background noises get in the way of my hearing. But my hearing tests out just fine as far as the pitch and tone thingies they test for.

After reading this thread, I suspect I probably have a mild auditory processing issue too. The “heads up” thing in particular - honestly, it never occurred to me that there might be people who didn’t need a “hey I’m about to talk” cue. This despite the fact that I’ve had to train my husband over many years to NOT just start speaking to me out of the blue, because there’s no way I’m going to understand the first three seconds of that.

A mild processing deficit must be pretty common though, don’t you think? The poll results certainly seem to bear that out. And most people don’t, in fact, just launch into a subject before they’ve got your attention, as far as I can judge - it’s general ettiquet to provide some sort of social froth (“Hey Aspidistra…”, “Can I have a moment…”, “I was just wondering if you could tell me…”) before coming to the meat.

After discussions on the topic with the Spouse, I have now discovered

  1. That when two auditory streams are going on at the same time he can hear, process and understand them both. I can’t do this - I don’t do the “johnmark mixed” thing either though - I would be able to focus on mark and understand what he’s saying at the price of filtering out john so completely I don’t even notice he’s making noise

  2. That he can always understand someone speaking to him, even if it’s completely out of the blue.

  3. That he never has a processing delay - the only possible reason for not understanding a sentence would be if it’s too soft to hear.


Our youngest child has autism, of which the biggest symptom is a serious language delay. I’m thinking he must definitely have a language processing problem, probably inherited from me. We’re doing Speech Therapy with him, which has helped immensely.

I had the same problem in school, but its ok now I smoke weed

I wonder if this is related. As my colleague that I shared an office with after we both retired (as professors emeriti, we were entitled to office space, but not a private office) got into his 80s, he seemed to get hard of hearing. He went to an audiologist who examined him and finally said that, while he could prescribe a hearing aid, it would not really help since his hearing problems were cognitive. I learned to speak to him both slow and loud.

He died last summer at 91 and, now as I approach 78, I find that I sometimes have trouble hearing speed especially in a noisy place. I do enjoy background music but it definitely interferes with my hearing speech.