Speech Language Pathology + Audiology

Auditory Processing Evaluations Service

Expertise in Assessing for Auditory Processing Disorder

The term "auditory processing" describes what's involved in the brain recognizing and interpreting information it receives from the ears. In some kids, the brain cannot properly process auditory information, particularly in noisy environments. This condition is known as Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).

A variety of symptoms are associated with APD, including difficulty in:

  • Reading and spelling
  • Following directions
  • Understanding others, especially in less-than-ideal listening environments
  • Staying focused and completing assignments

Despite normal hearing test results, children with APD often appear to have hearing difficulties. In many cases, they're also bothered by loud noise.

Tufts Medical Center is one of the few facilities in Massachusetts to offer auditory processing evaluations, or APD assessments. Our team specializes in determining if kids have APD. Where appropriate, we provide schools and families with recommendations on how best to accommodate the child.

Please note: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can produce similar symptoms as APD. We target testing to figure out if your child's problems with language or attention are due to APD, ADHD or a combination of both conditions.

What You Can Expect

Children should be at least seven years old to have an APD assessment. If your child's doctor or specialist thinks APD might be a problem, a Tufts Medical Center audiologist who specializes in these assessments will review your child's history and previous evaluations from other specialists. Your audiologist will then decide if APD testing is in order or if further testing is required first.

If your child comes into our clinic, your audiologist will review his or her history with you and answer any questions you may have. Your child will also undergo a hearing test and a series of auditory processing tests, which take place in a sound-treated booth with headphones.

Within a few days after the evaluation, your audiologist will contact you to review the results. We'll send you a written report soon thereafter. The report includes guidance on how you and your child's school can help him or her deal with APD. Examples of recommendations include:

  • Following up with a speech therapist
  • Being fitted with a frequency modulation (FM) system
  • Preferential seating and other tips for accommodating your child in the classroom

Moving forward, we'll be here to work with your child's school system and specialists involved in his or her care to ensure the appropriate steps are taken. We generally reevaluate patients two years after diagnosis to see if things have improved.

Pediatricians, neuropsychologists, otolaryngologists and speech pathologists often refer patients to us for evaluation. We'll forward all test results to you and be available to answer follow-up questions.