Auditory processing disorder affects approximately two to seven percent of the U.S population. APD refers to difficulties in processing auditory information in the central nervous system. Many people with APD, may have normal hearing, but also tend to experience difficulty in receiving, organizing, and understanding speech. The symptom complex of APD is broad due to how it differs from person to person. Our Lady of the Lake University student, Nicky Haskins, shares his story on living with APD and the best ways you can manage.

The best way Haskins can describe APD is “as a driver so you know you have your computer and a mouse and there’s a driver that connects the two, so my brain is the computer, my ears are the mouse, and they both work perfectly fine, but the driver is really messed up, so the mouse doesn’t always work.”

Haskins attended a small school when he was younger, so the signs were not noticeable until later in life. He first noticed early signs of APD at age 19, when he got yelled at during work one day. However, he was not officially diagnosed by an audiologist until 2021. Haskins said that his APD worsen during covid due to the masks interfering with understanding others speech.

He explained that before the best way to deal with APD was by reading lips and always using subtitles. “And I’ve noticed a lot of people do too online, they’re always like I need to read to be able to hear and you’ll see jokes about it and it’s probably APD now thinking about it.”

Haskins tries his best to bring more attention to APD and had many friends open up to similar situations. He hopes to help people and his friends by providing places you can go for it. Haskins pointed out that APD is also common for those who have ADHD and dyslexia.

Now, Haskins’ best way of dealing with it is hearing aids and taking notes on time. At first, he felt embarrassed about hearing aids because he explains that his “ears aren’t the problem it’s the connections.” Haskins also said, “most people when they hear specifically about hearing aids, they think it’s hearing loss which it’s not, it was trickier of things to find out.”

He also mentioned that you can get training as a treatment for APD. “That would probably take forever, and I would probably forget about it. Hearing aids would probably be cheaper in the long run I figured, and they are very convenient.”

Haskins recommended that anyone seeking treatment for APD should see an audiologist. When he visited, they gave him a list of accommodations that featured apps to use, a recommendation to get tested for dyslexia, auditory games, recommended preparing notes before class, hearing aids, and visual and auditory reinforcements.

Here is a list of the specific accommodations Haskins recommended:

  • Computer games such as Hear Builders
  • Auditory only games such as Simon Says
  • Computer-based Programs such as Fast for Word
  • iPad App called “Auditory Processing Studio.”
  • The book “When the Brain can’t hear.”
  • Transcribing app such as Otto. (Free version limits some of the features, but there is a pro version.)

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