We don’t hear with our ears alone. Hearing also involves the brain.

Auditory processing disorder (APD), sometimes referred to as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), is a general term for hearing disorders in which the ears process sound normally but the hearing centres and circuits of the brain don’t always process incoming information sufficiently quickly or accurately.

Children with untreated APD grow up to be adults with APD. APD can also arise in adulthood as a consequence of disease, injury or ageing. APD is a common consequence of brain injury and stroke. Adults with APD can hear but they sometimes have trouble understanding what they hear. APD can especially affect understanding, in challenging listening situations such as in the presence of other distracting sound or when listening to complex information. Often adults who have had APD since childhood have learnt to compensate for or mask their listening difficulties. Sometimes adults who receive an APD diagnosis attribute past difficulties at school relating to academic progress, social and behavioural difficulties, to auditory processing difficulties.

APD in adults can impact quality of life significantly. Communication difficulties can negatively affect socialisation, relationships and career.

If the APD is a consequence of an injury, it may affect ability to return to work. The additional effort required to listen and understand everyday conversations can result in listening-related fatigue. APD often makes understanding difficult when listening in noise and groups, leading to reduced communication and social confidence.


Auditory processing disorder can only be diagnosed by a qualified Audiologist.

Many hearing clinics and audiology services provide general audiological diagnostic assessments and fit hearing aids for age-related or noise-related hearing loss problems. At SoundSkills audiology clinic we provide an audiology service that specialises in APD diagnosis and APD treatment. To diagnose APD we use specialised hearing tests (APD tests) that examine ability to hear in noise, to effectively use both ears together, to detect subtle changes in the pitch and duration of sounds, and auditory memory.


As with children adults with APD benefit from auditory training and hearing assistive technology.

Adults with APD often experience immediate benefit from using hearing instruments

to help compensate for the functional difficulties caused by APD such as difficulty listening in groups, difficulty understanding speech and listening-related fatigue. Hearing assistance for APD includes use of advanced technology hearing aids and assistive remote microphone devices to provide increased clarity (not necessarily volume) of voices. Research supports use of amplification to treat auditory processing difficulties despite having normal hearing thresholds on a standard hearing test.

At SoundSkills APD Clinic our goal is to provide an individualised service focused on improving quality of life.

Our audiologists use the most current auditory training programmes and hearing technologies to treat hearing difficulties. For hearing aid fittings, we provide a 30-day trial, the results of which are evaluated together with your audiologist, using agreed goals set out at the beginning of the trial.


Adults diagnosed with APD who also have some hearing loss evident in a standard hearing test, may be eligible for the Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme (HASS) or the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme (HAFS)

More information on HASS & HAFS

These schemes are provided by the Ministry of Health. The HASS provides a subsidy of $511.11 per ear. The HAFS covers the cost of hearing aids. These schemes do not include the cost of fitting appointments.