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Auditory Processing

Auditory Processing can be helped in a variety of ways; accommodations in the classroom and at home, training in higher-order functions that may help compensate for processing deficits and remediation of processing are all important to an individual’s success. Luckily, the brain is capable of making dramatic improvements in processing through a process called Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and develop new and improved neuronal pathways in response to environmental input. In the case of auditory processing, listening therapies can play a critical role in helping to improve processing abilities.


The causes of auditory processing are not fully known but are often seen in individuals who have had early childhood complications such as chronic ear infections and congestion, premature birth or low birth weight, etc. Further, treating the condition (e.g., inserting tubes for ear infections, etc.) will not necessarily remediate the processing deficit. Once these conditions are treated, remediation is essential to reduce processing deficits. At Key to Me Therapy, we specialize in developing highly individualized protocols to help an individual make gains in processing.


Suspect that you or your child may be dealing with auditory processing difficulties? Use the following lists to help identify characteristics that are frequently related to auditory processing disorders:


Receptive Abilities

Receptive ability is how we understand what others are saying to us and what is going on in the school or home environment. Use the following list to examine an individual’s receptive abilities.

  • Difficulty staying focused at school

  • Easily distractible, especially by noise

  • Misinterprets questions or requests

  • Confuses similar sounding words

  • Needs repetition and/or clarification of directions more than usual

  • Able to follow only one to two instructions in a sequence

  • Difficulty understanding discussions

  • Poor short-term memory

  • Poor long-term memory

  • Must read material several times to absorb content

  • Difficulty understand main idea of reading material

  • Tends to focus on details and miss the big picture of a situation or story

  • Tires easily

  • Becomes sleepy when listening to speakers or when reading

  • Feels that most people speak too fast or unclearly

  • Misinterprets people’s tone of voice as yelling

  • Displays sensitivities to particular sounds (e.g., the vacuum)

  • Overloads from busy or noisy environments (e.g., birthday parties)



Expressive Abilities

Expressive ability is how we monitor and reproduce correctly what we hear, especially our own voices, speech and self-expression. Use the following list to examine an individual’s expressive abilities.

  • Flat or monotonous voice quality

  • Speech lacks fluency and rhythm is hesitant

  • Stumbles over words

  • Difficulty recalling exact word usage

  • Difficulty with reading, especially reading aloud

  • Difficulty summarizing a story

  • Difficulty relating or identifying isolated facts

  • Sings out of tune

  • Poor spelling

  • Articulation, semantics or pragmatics issues in speech