The term "auditory processing" describes what's involved in the brain recognizing and interpreting information it receives from the ears. In some people, the brain cannot properly process auditory information, particularly in noisy environments. This condition is known as Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).
Adults with APD typically find it hard to stay focused at work, follow conversations and filter out background noise. Despite normal or near normal hearing test results, they often appear to have hearing difficulties. In many cases, they're also bothered by loud noise.
Tufts Medical Center is one of the few facilities in Massachusetts to offer auditory processing evaluations, or APD assessments, for adults. Where appropriate, we provide recommendations to help you deal with challenging environments you may encounter in daily life.
Please note: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can produce similar symptoms as APD. We target testing to figure out if your listening problems may be related to APD, ADHD or a combination of both conditions.
If your doctor or specialist thinks APD might be a problem, a Tufts MC audiologist who specializes in these assessments will contact you to review your history. He or she will then decide if APD testing is in order or if further testing is required first.
If you come into our clinic, your audiologist will review your history with you and answer any questions you may have. You'll also undergo a hearing test and a series of auditory processing tests, which take place in a sound-treated booth with headphones.
Within a few days after the evaluation, your audiologist will contact you to review the results. Soon thereafter, we'll send you a written report that may include recommendations such as:
- Following up with a speech therapist
- Being fitted with an assistive listening device
- Making accommodations in your workplace
Moving forward, we'll be here to continue helping you improve your listening abilities in difficult listening environments. We generally reevaluate patients two years after diagnosis to gauge progress.
Otolaryngologists, primary care physicians, neuropsychologists and speech pathologists often refer patients to us for evaluation. We'll forward all test results to you and be available to answer follow-up questions.