Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is difficulty with receptive language, meaning trouble understanding what is heard, even when hearing is not impaired.  Challenges occur when language is more complex, spoken rapidly, or is quite lengthy.  Additionally, it typically is hard to concentrate when there is a lot of activity going on or a lot of noise in the environment.

A central auditory problem causes trouble understanding the meaning of incoming sounds, due to the brain being unable to interpret the sounds efficiently.  Frank Musiek, an audiologist, and researcher describes central auditory processing problems as “how well the ear talks to the brain and how well the brain understands what the ear tells it”.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe.  Some symptoms that are associated with auditory processing problems:

  • Often needs remarks repeated.
  • Asks many extra informational questions.
  • Difficulty following multi-step instructions.
  • Problems processing rapid speech.
  • Difficulty staying on task.
  • Difficulty returning to a task following distraction.
  • Easily distracted by sounds or activities in the environment.
  • Socially may have trouble relating to peers, because of misunderstandings and misinterpreting what people say.


How to help your students who you suspect may have CAPD:

  • Recommend an evaluation with an audiologist.
  • Consider purchasing “Auditory Processing Exercises” by Bridgette O’Neill. This book has a screening and several exercises to improve auditory challenges.
  • Reduce background noise for the individual. Allow them to do individual work in a quiet area.
  • Use simple, expressive language.
  • Speak at a slower rate.
  • Ask the student to repeat what was said or learned to make sure they understand.
  • Request the student sit at the front of the classroom to reduce distractions.

An evaluation for central auditory processing challenges needs to be diagnosed by an audiologist.  The following organizations complete audiology exams for auditory processing:

A Chance to Grow-1800 2nd Street, Fridley, MN;

(612)789-1236 or https://www.actg.org/audiologyservices.html


Audiology Concepts– has seven locations across Minnesota.  https://www.audiologyconcepts.com/

GRAND RAPIDS218-326-6018

CAMBRIDGE : 763-689-2121
FOREST LAKE651-464-8486


Minnesota Academy of Audiologists– Has a list of audiologists throughout Minnesota.  https://www.minnesotaaudiology.org/aud-directory



American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Website https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/central-auditory-processing-disorder/

Auditory Processing Center.  Website https://auditorycenter.com/symptoms-of-auditory-processing-disorder-apd/adults-with-apd/

Holland, Jennifer L., ((2014).  Train the Brain to Hear, Understanding and Treating Auditory Processing Disorder and Other Learning Disabilities. Universal-Publishers, Boca Raton.

LD online.  www.ldonline.org

Musiek, Frank E., PhD, CCC-A and Chermak, Gail D. (2007).  Handbook of Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Vol. I and II.  Plural Publishing, Inc., San Diego, CA.

O’Neill, Bridgette (2019).  Auditory Processing Exercises.  Copyright Bridgette O’Neill, Monee, IL.