CAPD 2018-02-12T13:37:29+00:00


Central Auditory Processing (CAP) is best described as “How the ear talks to the brain and what the brain does with it” (Terri James Bellis – 2001). The brain must accurately decode what the ear tells it in order for the brain to attach meaning to the sound coming in. A Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is an inability to attend to, discriminate between, organise, recognise or understand aspects of the auditory signal that does not result from an impairment in hearing sensitivity or low cognitive functioning. CAPD is not limited to children and is in fact more prevalent in adults than in children.

Language is learned by listening to it. To learn language one needs to be able to attend to, listen to, and separate important speech from all the other noises of daily living, at home, at school and socially. When the Central Auditory Processing skills are weak, the child or adult may experience auditory overload, making communication and learning a real challenge. This impacts listening and speaking, reading and writing and in turn, doing.


CAPD can only be assessed by an audiologist. This assessment takes part in a soundproof booth using specialised and calibrated equipment. It is a team-based assessment and previous assessment reports and input from other professionals is essential to obtaining the best overview of the CAP skills of the child.

Based on the findings of the assessment, previous assessment reports and information from the parents, the audiologist will be able to identify or describe the weakness in CAP and provide remediation and management strategies for the parents, the teachers, the child and the therapists. A differential diagnosis is very important as each child requires different strategies based on their strengths and weaknesses.

Most important is that the child knows and understands how his/her brain works best and how to make learning and communication work best for them.

In some cases, the child will benefit from using a personal FM amplification system in the classroom to assist with learning.


CAPD can present in a similar manner to a number of other conditions. Here is a checklist of some of the behaviours that may be seen in a person with a CAPD and include one who:

  1. is doing poorly in reading, writing and spelling
  2. does not pay attention or is daydreaming in class
  3. is having problems learning a foreign language
  4. can learn through the auditory channel but does better with visual stimuli
  5. cannot write from dictation
  6. “mishears” words
  7. doesn’t participate in class discussions
  8. misunderstands homework assignments or fails to follow directions
  9. cannot tolerate a noisy room or is fidgety in noisy places
  10. has trouble understanding stories read aloud
  11. takes cryptic and insignificant notes
  12. doesn’t get the salient points /relevant facts
  13. has trouble depicting directions embedded in other information
  14. has trouble with math word problems
  15. appears to have a latency of response or delayed response to a question
  16. has difficulty learning songs, or sings the wrong words to songs
  17. often say “huh” or “what” or asks “what do you mean?”
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