Central auditory processing disorders in children and adults

Handb Clin Neurol. 2015;129:537-56. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62630-1.00030-5.


Central auditory processing disorders (CAPD) can affect children and adults of all ages due to a wide variety of causes. CAPD is a neurobiologic deficit in the central auditory nervous system (CANS) that affects those mechanisms that underlie fundamental auditory perception, including localization and lateralization; discrimination of speech and non-speech sounds; auditory pattern recognition; temporal aspects of audition, including integration, resolution, ordering, and masking; and auditory performance with competing and/or degraded acoustic signals (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2005a, b). Although it is recognized that central auditory dysfunction may coexist with other disorders, CAPD is conceptualized as a sensory-based auditory disorder. Administration of behavioral and/or electrophysiologic audiologic tests that have been shown to be sensitive and specific to dysfunction of the CANS is critical for a proper diagnosis of CAPD, in addition to assessments and collaboration with a multidisciplinary team. Intervention recommendations for CAPD diagnosis are based on the demonstrated auditory processing deficits and related listening and related complaints. This chapter provides an overview of current definitions and conceptualizations, methods of diagnosis of, and intervention for, CAPD. The chapter culminates with a case study illustrating pre- and posttreatment behavioral and electrophysiologic diagnostic findings.

Keywords: P300; auditory evoked potentials; auditory processing disorder; central auditory processing; electrophysiology; middle-latency auditory evoked response.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory Diseases, Central* / complications
  • Auditory Diseases, Central* / diagnosis
  • Auditory Diseases, Central* / etiology
  • Auditory Perceptual Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Hearing Tests
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*