Central auditory describing describes how the brain interpret information that is heard. This function occurs automatically, without the individual being conscious of it. When someone's ability to correctly understand and order the meaning of the sounds that they received is impaired in some fashion, the ability of that person, particularly if they are a child, to learn and develop can be limited. The collection of disorders that affect this crucible ability is known by the umbrella term of Central Audit Processing Disorder or CAPD.
CAPD is not caused by any defect in the structure of the ear; rather, it is a condition where sounds, such as speech, are not comprehended in a normal fashion. In simple terms, CAPD is not dissimilar to color-blindness. Those who are color-blind see the same images as everyone else, but can not distinguish the hues and shades of those images. Those with this hearing disorder receive sounds, but interpreted them differently.
While the causes of central auditory disorder are still being studied, they appear to manifest in three basic situations: acquired, hereditary, and developmental. The acquired scenario involves some kind of damage to the part of the nervous system that is responsible for comprehending sound, and could be the result of a trauma or illness. The hereditary form can be genetic in nature and can be directly passed across generations from parent to child. The developmental variety is the hardest to pinpoint, except in cases where an underlying physiological cause, such as epileptic aphasia, can lead to a regression in normal development.
Testing central auditory processing can help determine if the disorder exists and if so, the types of therapeutic approaches can then be taken. This is especially important for children, as problems analyzing verbal signals can affect their potential for success in school, as well as their overall social development. The symptoms that indicate that testing is needed can range from poor performance in school, difficulty with listening skills, behavioral concerns, and trouble concentrating or handling multiple tasks.
Diagnosing central auditory issues often involves a multi-disciplinary approach. Trained audiologists can administrator sound-related tests and monitor how the listener responds to each by repeating what was heard, selecting the sound, or otherwise pointing how the signal was understood. Physical examinations can determine whether any structural or health issues are involved, while testing the cognitive functions can reveal other potential causes.
While these types of situations are most often observed in children, adults can also have audit issues that affect their daily lives. Given the many possible manifestations of CAPD and the unique characteristics of each individual, treatment for this condition will vary from one person to the next. It is important to remember that, when problems involving a child's ability to understand the meanings of sounds are obvious, seeking out the services of experienced audiologists who are capable of making a definitive diagnosis can dramatically change the outlook for a child's development.