Signs of Central Auditory Processing Disorder

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), children with Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) often experience difficulties understanding and interpreting auditory information despite having hearing within normal limits. Children with CAPD may hear well when it is quiet, however, hearing becomes more difficult in noisy environments. As a result, many children do not learn as well as others in noisy classrooms and homes.

Behaviours seen in children with CAPD may include:

  • Difficulty listening in the presence of background noise (e.g. classroom) and generally performs well in a one on one situation
  • Language delays in both understanding and expressing
  • Poor auditory attention span
  • Often misunderstands what is said and needs information to be repeated
  • Inability to understand and retain verbal information and follow directions leading to slow or delayed response to verbal requests and instructions
  • Poor organisational skills and rarely completes tasks
  • Difficulties spelling and reading
  • Difficulty perceiving high frequency sounds ‘t’, ‘k’, ‘s’, ‘k’, ‘p’, ‘th’, ‘sh’, and/or similar sounds (e.g. ‘da’ and ‘ba’)
  • Difficulty in expressing and articulating information and often giving inconsistent responses to the same sounds or information

CAPD affects children in a number of ways. Some of these include:

  • Feelings of incompetence resulting in depression
  • Social isolation and withdrawal due to auditory fatigue
  • Feelings of frustration resulting in aggressive and/or disruptive behaviours
  • Cynicism toward communication and learning
  • Poor self-esteem and relationships with peers
  • Some become bored and restless and others may become disruptive or take risks
  • They can appear to have difficulty paying attention or following instructions and can often be misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Slow academic progress and a limited learning potential

A routine audiological test will not diagnose CAPD as results will appear normal. If CAPD is suspected, assessment will involve a variety of specialised audiological tests. Mackay Hearing offer a comprehensive CAPD assessment and thorough treatment plan.

If you would like any more information on CAPD symptoms and testing options, please contact our friendly local staff directly on (07) 4952 4649 or email us at