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auditory processing disorder symptoms

Auditory Processing Disorder Symptoms: Signs Your Child Has APD

July 4, 2022

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are two conditions that can affect a person’s ability to focus and process information. 

Auditory Processing Disorder symptoms can be hard to spot as they may be similar to other learning difficulties, such as ADHD. So how can you tell if your child has APD?

In fact, on the surface, APD and ADHD can look pretty similar. So it’s not uncommon for people to be diagnosed with ADHD when they actually have APD. And to add an extra layer of complexity, the conditions can coexist! While they share some similarities, there are key differences between the two. In this article, we’ll explore the symptoms of APD and how it differs from ADHD.

Auditory processing disorder symptoms vs. ADHD symptoms

Individuals with APD have difficulty listening and following instructions because their brain has trouble processing sound. Those with ADHD don’t struggle to process sound, they struggle to pay attention. 
People with APD usually complain of trouble listening and frequently needing to request clarification, but tend to be better at listening and focusing in quiet environments. Kids with ADHD typically have trouble paying attention and fidget in any environment.
If you have trouble processing spoken information due to APD, you’re going to have a hard time paying attention and remembering what you learn.
auditory processing disorder symptoms

What are the symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder?

Someone with APD:
  • has poor listening skills
  • has difficulty hearing in background noise
  • has trouble following instructions
  • Experiences difficulty with sound discrimination (distinguishing when sounds are different/the same)
  • struggles academically
  • often responds with ‘huh?’ or ‘what?’
  • is easily distracted
  • is inattentive
  • learns better one-on-one

Online auditory processing disorder test

People aged 5 and above who meet the eligiblity requirements can enrol in our online auditory processing disorder test.
You need an iPad to complete this test at home.
The test is research validated and results are evaluated by professionals.

There’s more to the Auditory Processing Disorder story, though

Since there are varying forms of auditory processing difficulties you many not experience all the symptoms listed above. The above list is not an exhaustive list of all Auditory Processing Disorder symptoms.
If you think you may have Auditory Processing Disorder, get our Auditory Processing Difficulties Info Pack & Checklist. It’s a free screening tool you can use to determine whether auditory processing difficulties are evident.
If you’d like to identify your learning strengths & weaknesses, please complete our Online Learning Assessment. It will help you identify where you may need help.
auditory processing disorder symptoms

Video: What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

Dr Martha Burns explains auditory processing disorder and how it impacts learning.


Checklist developed by Sonic Learning 2009. Adapted from Fisher’s Auditory Problems’ Checklist Fisher, L., I., (1985) Learning Disabilities and Auditory Processing in VanHattum, R. J. (Ed.), Administration of Speech-Language Services in the Schools, College Hill Press pp. 231-292

Learn more & contact us

CAPD info pack

Get the APD checklist & info pack

A self-screening checklist for Auditory Processing Disorder with helpful resources.

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Online auditory processing test

Easy, cost-effective auditory processing test for people aged 5 and above. Research validated and evaluated by speech pathologists and audiologists.

Book a free phone consult

This free telephone consultation can help to answer any questions you have about our services. At Sonic Learning we are all experienced teachers and health professionals so parents tend to find it very beneficial to be able to discuss their concerns and receive guidance from our team.

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