Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in Children: Guide

Campbell, N., Grant, P., Moore, D,R. and Rosen, S. | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

What is APD?

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) was first described more than 60 years ago as the inability ‘to structure the auditory world’ (Mykelbust, 1954:158).  It is said to affect 2-3% of children (Chermak and Musiek, 1997; Palfery & Duff, 2007) but prevalence is difficult to know with certainty, given that there is no universal ‘gold standard’ for defining APD.

The British Society of Audiology (2018) define APD as follows:

APD is characterised by poor perception of speech and non-speech sounds.  It has its origins in impaired neural function, which may include both the afferent and efferent pathways of the central auditory nervous system (CANS), as well as other neural processing systems that provide ‘top down’ modulation of the CANS.  APD impacts on everyday life mainly through a reduced ability to listen, and therefore respond appropriately to speech and other sounds.  Individuals referred for APD assessment typically present at clinics reporting hearing difficulties, despite a normal audiogram in most cases.

Simply stated APD refers to difficulty processing what we hear.



British Society of Audiology APD SIG. (2018). APD Position Statement and Practice Guidance.

Chermak, G.D., & Musiek, F.E. (1997). Central auditory processing disorders: New perspectives. San Diego, CA: Singular.

Palfery, T., & Duff, D. (2007). Central auditory processing disorders: Review and case study. Axone, 28, 20–23.