Central auditory processing disorder or CAPD is a sensory processing disorder influencing our hearing, concretely the communication between our ears and the brain. Our brain is unable to process, sort and prioritize the auditory inputs from the environment correctly. Then we may experience certain troubles varying in intensity from day to day and as well from person to person.
Let’s look at basic symptoms we may experience.
To put it simple, we have troubles differentiating certain sounds for each other or pick up sounds from the other sounds around. Usually, the process of processing the spoken language is impaired the most. We can experience difficulties picking up voices or other sounds if noisy background sounds are present. In other words, we may have troubles processing and understanding spoken language if there is for example music, noises of a town, workplace or classroom, other people speaking or just light or household appliances' humming in the background. Consequently, we always ask for repetition of what was just said. We may be also unable to pick up lyrics from a song or understand what is said in a film when there is soundtrack present. We can also have trouble distinguishing between the the letters like b and p, because of their similar sound. Then there is the feeling of people around speaking with delay or their speech being blurred or distorted. Sometimes we don’t even recognize somebody is speaking or we are completely unable to understand the words. All these signs lead to difficulties with processing spoken language and with having a proper conversation. We may respond to questions or spoken words with delay or not respond at all. Also, we may not answer when our name is called or answer after a significant amount of time. We can struggle with focusing on a certain activity when there are other sounds present. We can’t for example read a book when there is a TV turned on. It’s common thing that we miss spoken instructions in work or at school. We can also experience troubles with reading, spelling, writing or learning a new language. We have especially hard time taking notes at school if they are only in spoken form.
These are some of the symptoms of CAPD. It’s impossible to put everything here because this is a very complex neurological disorder. However, if you have recognised some of the signs above you may have this condition. What to do to reduce our problem? Don’t hesitate to ask for repetition in conversation. If the conversation is starting to be too much for you, just say that you can’t understand anymore or try to reduce background noises like tuning down the TV or the radio. You can always seek the best quiet environment possible, if you can’t process what the other person is saying. Never hesitate to ask other people to speak slower or louder. Always ask for written instructions if you need to.
These were just a few examples of what you can do to minimalize your problems. I myself suffer from a mild form of CAPD. I have troubles understanding what other people say when there is some noise present or I don't realize they are speaking to me sometimes. I also can’t concentrate on a task when I’m surrounded by sounds from the environment or have difficulties concentrating on what one person is saying when there are more people speaking at the same time. I have a problem as well to pick up lyrics from a song or some words from a film when there is soundtrack. However, my problems are not so serious. Even though, it can be difficult sometimes to understand the world around me.