Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) testing

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) testing
June 21, 2023 Amazing Hearing Group

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is a hearing problem which affects the way the brain processes and interprets sound. It can have an impact on listening skills, speech discrimination, and language development.

CAPD testing is used to help diagnose this disorder to identify underlying problems and develop interventions that can improve a person’s ability to process sounds.


Understanding CAPD

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is caused by a sound processing deficit in the brain, and it cannot be detected by simple hearing tests as the patient can still hear.

Patients may have trouble paying attention, following instructions, and appearing unfocused. This may be worse in noisy environments or when given complex instructions. They may also struggle with differentiating similar-sounding words, spelling, reading, and distinguishing music notes or intonations.


CAPD and its Impact

CAPD can have a profound impact on academic performance, social interactions, emotional regulation, and communication.

Children with CAPD may experience challenges in the classroom as they have difficulty processing auditory information at the same pace and accuracy as their peers. They may also face difficulties with social skills and expressive language due to their struggle to understand verbal cues and process multiple conversations.

Many families may spend years seeking therapy for misdiagnoses of learning, language processing, autism and attention deficit disorders. Though these other diagnoses can coexist with CAPD, first treating CAPD will help to improve language processing and attention problems.


CAPD in Adulthood

Many adults who have not been diagnosed since childhood still face daily struggles but they have made subconscious adjustments to their environments and communication styles to cope with these difficulties.

Receiving an official diagnosis can help in explaining the unexplained behaviour they had experienced for years.

Adults with CAPD may have trouble understanding speech in certain places like crowded areas or noisy restaurants. They may also find it difficult to follow complex conversations, manage multiple conversations at once, recognize different voices in a group, and remember detailed instructions.


CAPD Testing and Diagnosis

CAPD testing is used by audiologists and healthcare professionals to diagnose and assess the severity of CAPD.

To undergo the tests, patients must be at least 7 years old. The tests include sound localization, auditory discrimination, auditory pattern recognition, temporal audition, and auditory performance in competing or degraded acoustic environments.

In some cases, electrophysiological testing such as Auditory Brainstem Response and MRI scans are required.


CAPD Testing Process

Audiologists trained in CAPD can diagnose CAPD by conducting different speech tests with varying sound conditions in a room that blocks outside noise.

During an ENT evaluation, the audiologist will check for risk factors related to CAPD and middle ear infections, and check if the patient’s hearing is normal.

Afterwards, a CAPD questionnaire will be given to the parent or teachers to complete. If the patient is found to be at risk, two 2-hour CAPD testing sessions will be scheduled.


CAPD Treatment

After the audiologist assesses the patient, a rehabilitation plan is devised. The person will work with the audiologist to establish techniques for managing their CAPD in daily circumstances.

Patients with CAPD may undergo auditory and language training, along with therapy sessions aimed at teaching techniques to cope with auditory processing deficits and enhance their self-awareness.

The objective of the CAPD treatment is to enable patients to manage their daily routine more efficiently, adjust themselves better, and reach their maximum potential.


CAPD and Hearing Aids

While there is limited research on CAPD in adults, some seniors with similar ages and hearing loss levels may experience varying degrees of hearing difficulties.

Undetected CAPD is believed to affect communication between the left and right sides of the hearing brain. As a result, hearing aids may not provide the same benefit for everyone.

Individuals with bilateral hearing loss and CAPD may benefit more from using a single hearing aid instead of two. However, it is crucial to undergo appropriate testing and fitting of hearing aids to attain the best possible outcomes for each patient.



Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is a primary disorder that affects the brain’s ability to process sounds. Diagnosis and treatment can help individuals manage CAPD and reach their maximum potential.

If you believe you or your loved ones may have CAPD, it is important to seek professional advice as soon as possible to obtain an accurate diagnosis through hearing tests and begin an effective treatment plan.

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