What is Auditory Processing?

Auditory Processing is the ability of an individual to listen, hear and process the meaning of sound around them and to then be able to make an appropriate response.  

This is a multifaceted process that involves the use of numerous two-way links within the brain as illustrated in the diagram below;

What affects an individual’s ability to effectively process the sounds in their environment?

The ability to be able to effectively process sound is dependent upon;

  •  the physical ability of the ear to receive sound:

o   if there are structural defects present due to identified neurological or genetic disorders

o   an inherited difference associated with neuro diversity 

  • the degree to which the individual has learnt to listen and thus pay attention to sound

o   if the individual has suffered persistent health conditions such a glue ear or numerous ear infections during early life this may have resulted in a poor listening environment.

  • the extent of neural development available for processing sound;

o   such as the presence of a retained immature reflex profile which can affect the development of ear dominance.

What difficulties may an individual with APD experience?

An individual experiencing APD may have difficulty in some or all the following areas;

  • discriminating similar sounds from one another ie. cold vs. called
  • focusing on speech/tracking conversation when there is a lot of background noise
  • remembering/following a sequence of instructions needing constant prompting or reminding
  • understanding speech when more than one person is talking, or the person is speaking quickly or with an accent

All the above can result in the person having difficulty keeping on task, becoming easily distracted or fatigued.

NB. Whilst Sound Therapy Providers can help individuals who have difficulties with Auditory Processing, they are not qualified to give a diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder as this requires a multidisciplinary approach. So, if you have such concerns about your child, please refer to your GP.

How can Sound Therapy help?

Research has shown that listening to specifically recorded/ psycho-acoustically modified music can stimulate, or “exercise,” the different functions of the auditory and sensory processing systems.

Certain classical music, like that of Mozart, Haydn and Vivaldi, has specific structure, producing sound waves in organised patterns. Within these patterns are vital elements including time, frequency, and volume.

When listening to music, the ear is receiving the musical sound waves—waves that arrive in different frequencies, measured in Hertz (Hz). These frequencies stimulate the brain, and thus affect different functions of the mind and body e.g. Low frequency sound is known to activate areas of the vestibular system; important for balance, coordination, and the integration of all the senses. 

 

Thus, such stimulation enables the brain to process sensory information from outside and inside the body in a more effective way.

You can complete our Auditory Processing Questionnaire below. The information will be submitted straight to us.