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Auditory processing disorder (APD) is an “umbrella” term covering a variety of central auditory processing deficits. APD is listed as a disorder in the WHO International Classification of Diseases, editions ICD10 and ICD11. However some academics promote an alternative terminology, “listening difficulties”. While less emphasis on a “disorder” label might be a good thing, “listening difficulties” unfairly suggests a lack of attention on the part of the person with APD.

In a recent international conference presentation SoundSkills audiologist Dr Bill Keith addressed controversies surrounding APD including the terminology debate. At SoundSkills we like the educational psychology and inclusive education approach of discussing strengths and weaknesses rather than “disorders” and favour a range of terminology options. We are accordingly reducing emphasis on the “disorder” term and making more use of auditory processing “weaknesses” or “difficulties”. Obviously at times the officially recognised term “APD” is necessary. As part of the conference presentation participants were polled on preferences. The majority favoured having a range of terms, but definitely not “listening difficulties”.