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Do children grow out of auditory processing difficulties?

November 28, 2022
Can you grow out of auditory processing disorder (APD/CAPD)?
Yes and no. Children can definitely improve their auditory processing skills though. Read on.

Because our brains have the amazing capacity to change (neuroplasticity), children can ‘grow out’ of anything – with the right stimulation and training. The act of listening itself improves auditory processing (if the child is listening!)

Children with APD lack the skills to improve their own listening

On the other hand, what often happens with Auditory Processing Disorders is that a student isn’t listening to their teacher, the teacher considers the child to be a problem, and so the teacher says “I’m not going to move you to the front because you interrupt other kids” and keeps that child in the back of the room. 

That child then starts tuning out more and discovers, because he can’t hear the teacher very well, that it’s much more fun to throw spit balls and find ways to tease the girls around him. That student’s auditory processing isn’t going to get better because he isn’t getting any auditory training in the classroom. 

So yes – children can outgrow anything if the stimulation is right, if what the child is doing with their brain is doing it in a way to move the brain in a different direction.

Auditory Processing Disorder brain

Educators and parents – how to improve auditory processing

The question we need to ask is: what do we need to do to help children grow out of auditory processing disorder? It depends on the child. 


Compensating for the problem by changing the way they receive and access information.

One thing we can do is move that child to the front of the class, so when the child’s in school for five hours, they’re getting the best auditory signal they can. 

Other methods include:
  • breaking up instructions
  • checking for understanding
  • providing visual aids.

Changing the environment to make listening easier.

The other thing we can do is talk to that child a lot in quiet environments (this should be done at all ages, and is especially crucial before age 5). Turning the TV off, getting out a book and reading to a child is very important for auditory processing development.

classroom maths online games Auditory Processing Disorder treatment

Other methods include moving closer to the speaker (for example, sitting closer to the front at a seminar), reducing noise and echo, and amplifying the speaker’s voice.

❌ While coping strategies will make listening and learning a little easier, they will not fix the auditory processing problem – in fact, they’re a bandaid
Many children are given every opportunity to develop auditory processing skills – their parents engage in conversation with them and read regularly to (and with) them. Yet, Some of these children are still identified as having language and auditory processing difficulties when they reach school age.

While the above compensatory and environmental modifications are of some help, these children need direct training to get the most out of the classroom environment and to avoid the enduring negative impact of processing problems on through adulthood (read Robyn’s perspective on this as an adult with APD).

Is Auditory Processing Difficulty a lifelong problem?

It doesn’t have to be. Almost any skill can be improved with training – auditory processing is no different.

For most children, direct intervention improves processing. It is for this reason that neuroscientists have developed programs to improve auditory processing skills. Many children need this specific stimulation, this extra brain training, to develop age appropriate auditory processing skills.

So can children outgrow it? If it’s not too severe, yes – if they have the right kind of stimulation, yes, and that more often than not involves an auditory training program specifically designed to improve that part of the brain. As neuroscientist and speech pathologist Dr Martha Burns put it: “Why would you ever deny a child that and say ‘let’s wait to see if he outgrows it?’ I certainly wouldn’t now.”
auditory processing disorder in adults

Treatment for auditory processing disorder

Skill building – training the brain to process sound correctly and quickly.
Yes, this is possible!
  • It requires actively training the brain to process sounds quickly and accuracy, to pay attention when processing auditory information, and to remember that information

  • To achieve this, we use Fast ForWord, a program that’s proven to improve many areas of auditory processing.

  • Fast ForWord is designed to change the brain, re-wiring it for listening, attention and memory.
auditory processing disorder in adults

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.

Learn more & contact us

CAPD APD auditory processing disorder Info pack

Download APD info pack

Find out how to best help an adult or a student with APD, how to understand APD test results, and how Fast ForWord can help.

Fast forword

Learn about the Fast ForWord online program

Builds the foundations of learning and auditory processing

What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

Dr Martha Burns explains.

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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