Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD)

Refers to deficits in the neural processing of auditory information. This is not due to hearing loss and may co-exist with other disorders and impairments. It may lead to difficulties in higher order language, learning, and communication functions.

What is CAPD?

Central Auditory Processing disorder (CAPD) occurs when children can’t understand, or have difficulties with understanding, spoken language; they hear it differently than the way their peers do. Typically, something blocks the way that the brain recognizes

What Causes CAPD?

Generally, the cause of Central Auditory Processing disorder is unknown in children. However, it is believed that it can be related to head trauma, seizures, chronic ear infections and lead poisoning and that these may increase the risk of developing this disorder.

What are the Symptoms of CAPD?

Just like with many disorders, symptoms can range from mild to severe and often resemble difficulties with understanding spoken language in noisier environments such as:

  • Classrooms
  • Playgrounds
  • Sporting events
  • Parties

If you believe that your child may have this type of disorder, you should think:

  1. Does my child often mishear sounds and words?
  2. Are noisy environments overwhelming when my child is trying to listen?
  3. Does my child perform or listen better and do behaviors improve when in quieter environments?

How is CAPD Diagnosed?

Considering many audiologists require children to be at least 7 years old, identifying this disorder can be difficult for younger children. Some pediatric audiologists, however, can diagnose children as young as 5 years old. This means that a child will generally get diagnosed for the first time when they’re in the first grade. However, some new
technology has been designed that is noninvasive that will help audiologists obtain more information for younger children.

If it is believed that your child is having difficulties with hearing and/or understanding spoken language, you should attempt to see an audiologist, as they will diagnose your child with this disorder.

How is CAPD Treated?

Therapy for a child with Central Auditory Processing disorder takes a team approach that typically includes an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, teacher, parents, and a counselor. The team’s goal for intervention is to provide the child with the ability to communicate effectively at home and in other everyday contexts.

As with other therapies, treatment will be individualized for the child based on what they need. This typically will incorporate and consider:

  • Strengths
  • Needs
  • Cultural background and values
  • Preferred language
  • Severity of the disorder

How Can I Support My Loved One at Home?

Strategies to use at home:

  • Limit noise in the background during conversation
  • Encourage face-to-face communication
  • When giving your child directions use shorter sentences at once or have them repeat back what you said
  • Use a slower speaking pace, with adequate volume
  • Use visuals: reminders, pictures, calendars, schedules, etc.
  • Use closed captioning whenever possible

Summarized information regarding CAPD with FAQs from other parents! Auditory Processing Disorder (APD): A Complete Guide | VocoVision

Pamphlet providing more basic information about the treatment approaches with examples!


Practice Portal, A. S. H. A. (n.d.). Central Auditory Processing Disorder. ASHA . Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/central-auditory-processing-disorder/

Riegner, T. L., & Inverso, D. (2021). Auditory Processing Disorder. Kids Health. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/central-auditory.html