Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in Children: Guide

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

Types of APD

There are three types or categories of APD (BSA, 2018)

1  Developmental APD

Cases presenting in childhood with listening difficulties, but with normal audiograms and no other known aetiology (causes) or potential risk factors other than a family history of developmental communication and related disorders.  These individuals may retain APD into adulthood.

2  Acquired APD

Cases associated with a known medical or environmental event (e.g. brain lesion, trauma, illness, noise or ageing).

3  Secondary APD

Cases where APD occurs in the presence, or as a result of either transient (e.g. glue ear) or permanent peripheral hearing impairment.

There tends to be greater focus on Developmental APD, primarily because of concerns that it may contribute to learning difficulties, especially affecting language and literacy, and hence to poor school performance. The majority of children suspected with APD fall into this group.

It is important to recognise that children can also present with Acquired or Secondary APD. In these cases appropriate and timely medical intervention should be sought, alongside any APD assessment and management offered.

Children with a history of glue ear are reported to have a higher incidence of Spatial Processing Disorder (SPD).  SPD is a specific type of APD where a child has a reduced ability to use spatial cues to hear in background noise.

CLICK HERE for more information about Spatial Processing Disorder

As new evidence accumulates on the biological basis of APD, and predisposing genetic factors, it is likely that these categories will be further refined.


BSA APD SIG. 2018.  APD Position Paper and Practical Guidance