A preliminary study of the relationship between central auditory processing disorder and attention deficit disorder

J Psychiatry Neurosci. 1993 May;18(3):130-7.


Fifteen boys aged six to ten who met the criteria for attention deficit disorder (ADD) were compared with ten boys who did not have ADD in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-crossover study of methylphenidate. To assess the degree of overlap between ADD and central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), all subjects were assessed on parent and teacher behavior rating scales, as well as a battery of CAPD tests at baseline and after three and six weeks of treatment. Twelve of the 15 subjects with ADD and none of the subjects without ADD met the criteria for CAPD. The subjects with ADD also responded to stimulant treatment on the measures of both ADD and CAPD. The overlap in the symptomatology of these disorders, the finding that the criteria for both disorders were met in 12 of 15 cases and the sensitivity of both ADD and CAPD measures to treatment with methylphenidate suggest that ADD and CAPD are closely related disorders. The implications of these results are three-fold. First, sustained attention is a critical feature of performance on CAPD tests and the current diagnostic criteria for CAPD make a clinical separation of the two disorders problematic. Second, stimulants appear to be a useful treatment for the symptoms of both ADD and CAPD. Third, CAPD tests may be a useful measure of ADD symptomatology and response to stimulants.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Auditory Diseases, Central / drug therapy
  • Auditory Diseases, Central / psychology*
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • Methylphenidate