CAPD child at school


Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Children diagnosed with CAPD can hear normally and therefore are not considered hearing impaired. Their difficulty lies in the neurological processing of the sounds they hear.

What is CAPD?

Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is a listening difficulty that afflicts approximately 5% of school-aged children.

Children with CAPD can find it difficult to interpret and process speech sounds even when they have normal hearing. This can be a challenge in the classroom where a signal can be degraded, be surrounded by noise or come from different directions. 

The Symptoms

Common symptoms of CAPD include:

  • Difficulty hearing where background noise is present
  • Difficulty following conversations
  • Difficulty following verbal instructions (especially multiple step directions)
  • Speech delays from an early age
  • Regularly misunderstands what is said, but doesn’t recognise the error
  • Does not recognise subtle social cues
  • Difficulty with phonics and learning to read
  • Displays attention issues
  • Regularly asks the speaker to repeat themselves

CAPD Assessment

To determine if a child has CAPD, a range of tests must be conducted by an audiologist. These are designed to assess specific auditory processing abilities. The test results are then integrated and are compared to normative data to determine a diagnosis.

CAPD assessment can take up to 1.5 hours and a comprehensive report is provided for parents, teachers and any specialist requested. It is optimal to have a morning appointment so your child is not tired when performing the test. Further information and forms will be provided upon booking.

Shout Hearing Healthcare provide referrals and comprehensive CAPD reports to your GP, paediatrician, ENT or speech pathologist for 7-12 years. If you are concerned about your child’s hearing make an appointment to discuss the rehabilitation options available.

Test Battery

Initially a hearing test will be performed to rule out a peripheral  hearing loss. However, a hearing test will not determine if a child has CAPD. Special tests are needed to test central processing of speech sounds. There is not a single test that can diagnose CAPD; it requires a series of tests or test battery to determine the specific auditory processing deficit, for example:

  • Temporal sequencing
  • Binaural integration
  • Temporal resolution
  • Binaural interaction – including spatial listening

Our CAPD test battery is aimed at problems with listening; particularly in the classroom.  We test for deficits for which we know there is evidence-based management. We test children aged between 7 -12 years of age. Normative data is not reliable for children under 7 years of age which can make the result interpretation less valid.


CAPD management at Shout Hearing Healthcare is evidence-based and depends on the type of deficit that has been diagnosed.  Management is based on three crucial components:

  1. Environmental Modifications
  2. Compensatory Strategies
  3. Specific Remediation

Management of CAPD requires a multidisciplinary approach including GP, parents, educational psychologists, speech pathologist and audiologists who work together.

Here* are some practical tips you can implement at school to eliminate environmental distractions and improve your child’s listening comprehension.

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