Auditory Processing Disorder Evaluations

About Auditory Processing

Auditory processing refers to our central nervous system's ability to process sound once the ear has transmitted sound signals to the brain. The ear itself is the organ that receives sound and changes it from an "air signal" to a "fluid signal". This is called "auditory reception". Once the brain receives sound signals from the ear, the brain processes sound signal and converts them into understandable sound. This is called "auditory perception". In the end, the brain is actually the "Master Ear".

Some patients, especially children, may have difficulty with auditory perception. Their ears are anatomically and medically fine, but their brains are not able to process sound properly. Often, parents and teachers begin to notice that the child is not hearing well and begin to question whether the child might have a "hearing loss". Symptoms include:

  • appearing not to hear
  • asking to have words repeated
  • appearing not to pay attention
  • having difficulty performing sequential commands
  • not being able to follow verbal directions in school

Auditory processing is not completely understood as a science. Auditory perceptual testing includes tests for auditory memory, auditory sequential memory, hearing in noise, and how the ears are interacting with each other.

Auditory processing testing takes approximately one hour. The testing is performed in the office setting. Testing is scored in a similar fashion to psychological tests. Normative data are available for children 7 years or older.

Guidelines for Auditory Processing Evaluations

  1. Children must be age 7 or older for testing in order to permit us to score the test with normative data. Children younger than 7 years old are not able to be tested. The AP testing process takes approximately one hour and requires separation between parent and child. Children must be mature enough to understand the test directions, be willing to cooperate, and be able to focus for one hour.
  2. Children must be referred by a psychologist and/or pediatrician.  Any reports from the psychologist and/or pediatrician will be reviewed prior to the child arriving for testing.
  3. If your child has a history of ear infections or other early childhood ear disease, we recommend a medical evaluation before testing to document that ear fluid and infections have resolved. If infection or fluid are present, your child will be appropriately referred to an ENT and testing will be postponed until resolution has been achieved.
  4. If your child is sick (cold, flu, allergies, etc.), testing will be postponed. Pediatric illnesses may cause temporary hearing loss and lead to poor performance. It is best to test your child when they are refreshed, motivated and well.
  5. A hearing evaluation will be performed at the beginning of the appointment prior to the start of auditory processing testing.


After AP testing is completed, you will receive a comprehensive report and recommendations. If an auditory processing issue is diagnosed, we recommend that you schedule a conference with your school counselor, teacher, audiologist, and speech pathologist to explore available treatment/rehabilitation options.

Because we are not affiliated with the various local school systems, detailed questions regarding auditory processing services available to your child at his/her individual school are better directed to your school's audiologist.