What is Central Auditory Processing Disorder?

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is the term originally used to describe a condition in which a person has difficulty hearing despite showing normal hearing sensitivity through audiometric testing. The term “central” was used to describe the location of the disorder, which is in the brain. Central auditory processing is not the same as peripheral hearing. Peripheral hearing instead occurs in the ear - either in the inner ear (cochlea), middle ear (inside the space within the eardrum) or outer ear (ear canal).

CAPD and Early Controversy

The late 1990’s brought much controversy over CAPD. Researchers set out to determine what Central Auditory Processing Disorder actually was and if the disorder truly existed. A task force was eventually formed and the outcome was that Auditory Processing Disorder can exist in the presence of normal hearing. Still, controversy remained over exactly where the disorder originated. As a result, the term “central” was dropped from the name. Today, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) are used interchangeably.

The Disorder-Deficit Difference

“Disorder” is another term that brings controversy over CAPD. Due to its negative connotation, TheListeningLab.com instead use the terms “deficit” or “delay” to show that the problem is a weakness that can be strengthened with the right stimulation or exercise.

“Fire It to Wire It”

Just as a muscle needs to be used in order to develop and grow, so does the auditory system need to be stimulated for growth and development. Think about what happens to our muscles if we stop training them. Soon, we begin to lose strength and as a result our muscles weaken. The same is true for the auditory system. For children with auditory processing weaknesses, listening is a lot of work. When listening becomes a lot of work, children simply stop listening. Due to lack of use, the auditory system will continue to weaken.

When we think of a disorder, we think of something permanent that can’t be helped. We therefore begin to develop strategies to help cope with the disorder. When we think of a deficit, delay or weakness, on the other hand, then we automatically think of something that can be helped or strengthened. According to recent research in brain plasticity, we can change the way the brain processes information. With repeated stimulation, it is possible to improve processing skills, which can then improve listening skills and in turn improve a variety of related problems.

Daily Listening Diet

Fun and engaging listening exercises can help children and individuals strengthen auditory processing weaknesses. Through the use of Planet Hearwell, TheListeningLab.com provides a “daily listening diet” proven to help children and adults become more auditorily connected and thus strengthen auditory processing skills.