I Have Found It Hard To Process Words Lately. Could It Be APD?

Hi Jeff, I am not sure but I think I may have APD. I have had a hearing test by an audiologist and my hearing is perfect but she suggested I may have a few problems with processing as I told her sometimes I have trouble processing words. It's quite ironic because I'm an audio medical typist and lately I have found it hard to process words so I would have to slow the speed down on a dictation to work out a word. Want I would really like to know is if this is the reason why I struggled to learn a foreign language. My parents are Italian but spoke English to me all my life but I struggled a lot to learn Italian at school while my sister and cousins all seemed to manage well. Do you think this is the reason?



Hi Melissa.

Yes, it's certainly possible it's APD. Your audiologist's analysis is definitely helpful in providing insight on this matter. Their tests can narrow down where the specific problem may lie.

APD impacts processing, not hearing. In fact, my hearing is near perfect like yours. My ability to process is the great annoyance.

Here's the thing with APD: Many adults have had auditory processing disorder their entire lives -- but nothing so severe that you needed to take action. You may have had "acceptable levels" of difficulty with noisy backgrounds/situations, auditory learning, or other issues. However, as you get older, the auditory nervous system becomes a little less flexible. This means that listening and processing language can get more challenging and impacts your daily life a little more so. In other words, you've finally had reason to notice it.

It is very possible that this is a reason you had problems learning a foreign language. Processing what you hear is essential (in terms of both accuracy of what you hear and your speed of understanding). From my own experience, I aced both Spanish and Japanese foreign languages to a certain point - then I could go no further. Memorizing words and vocabulary lists was easy. Written tests were easy. Listening tests were harder. Speaking interactions (conversational learning) with the professor was impossible. I could not distinguish the individual words enough to understand what the professor was saying. More times than not, it sounded to me like a garbled mess. Even when the professor spoke slower, it didn't help as much as I hoped (though it was better).

It is ironic you chose audio medical typist. I avoided an auditory career.

My suggestion is to ask your audiologist if there is specific training for speech discrimination that may help you improve deciphering sounds and syllables.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any question you have.


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