Auditory Training

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) refers to the brain’s inability to process the meaning of sound. It is also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). Individuals with Auditory Processing Disorder are rarely hearing impaired. They can hear sounds clearly but they can’t process the meaning of those sounds.

People who have normal hearing actually hear far more than they perceive. Where hearing is a function of the ear, auditory processing, which involves listening, is a function of the brain. Auditory processing describes the way the brain assigns significance and meaning to the sounds in the environment. Effective auditory processing involves a relatively high speed of information transfer. It also requires a good attention span, a well-functioning memory, and sensitivity to the many subtleties of sound. When parts of this complex system break down or don’t operate efficiently, listening is compromised. All the resulting problems are collectively known as Auditory Processing Disorders (APD).

Auditory processing is the system that transfers and decodes what we hear into what we understand. It is, in effect, the wiring between hearing and understanding. The ear and the brain communicate with each other, not unlike two people having a conversation on a mobile phone. If there is any kind of interference on the line, the reception of the given message will be compromised. The line may cut in and out, which explains why sometimes a child may find it hard to decode a message that they were able to decode the day before. There may be a small time delay, or there may be a lot of background noise. Where one type of interference may cause distraction, another may cause frustration, misunderstanding or confusion.
When the auditory processing system works well we should be able to decode auditory signals as they are delivered, integrate auditory information with other cues from the environment, organise all of this in a meaningful way, screen incoming auditory information to sort the relevant from the irrelevant, and lastly to associate sounds with written language.
APD can lead to behavioural problems and poor academic performance. Children with APD may display some or all of the following signs:

• Delayed language development
• Poor ability to listen effectively
• Poor speech comprehension, often asking “what?”
• Difficulty sequencing sounds of words
• Trouble differentiating between similar sounds: such as /a/ for ‘apple’ and /e/ for ‘egg’; /e/ for ‘egg’ and
/i/ for ‘insect’.
• Short attention span
• Difficulty following instructions
• Poor memory for oral information
• Inconsistent responses to the same auditory stimuli
• Difficulty in expressing what they want, often blaming the other person for not understanding
• Poor spelling, reading and comprehending
• Behavioural problems
• Social difficulties

Auditory Training Program

The Auditory Training Program (TM) uses electronically modified music and language to stimulate the auditory pathways and enhance auditory neural plasticity to assist and improve auditory processing abilities.

Being able to distinguish between fine differences in frequencies and other auditory skills is a pre-requisite for language development, and for the processing of all auditory information. Difficulties in processing sound to its full potential can manifest themselves auditory processing difficulties, poor auditory attention, poor short-term auditory memory skills and other difficulties such as learning difficulties, including poor reading and spelling, poor communication skills, poor coordination and balance, and difficulties with sensory integration. The Auditory Training Program improves the ability of the auditory system to do this by integrating four auditory intervention techniques plus world leading Besson-of-Switzerland technology to provide a comprehensive approach to address auditory processing and receptive language skill development.

The four techniques:

1. Auditory Training based on real-time filtered and boned conducted orchestral music incorporating Tomatis Techniques,
2. Dichotic Listening Training,
3. Speech, language and audio-vocal time expanded biofeedback and
4. Auditory Working Memory adaptive exercises.

The Auditory Training Program at Mind Matters Cairns is undertaken as an intense centre based program using the most advanced technologies

More information can be found on:

Advantages of Auditory Training Program

• It’s non invasive
• Helps auditory sequential memory difficulties
• Helps individuals distinguish speech against a variety of background noises
• Helps children acquire and discriminate between different speech sounds
• Intensive program means therapy can usually be completed quickly

Auditory Problems are found to co-exist with:

• Autism Spectrum Disorder
• Communication Disorders
• Speech and Language Delay
• Specific Learning Disorders (Dyslexia)
• Developmental Delay
• Dispraxia

Speech and Language in Autism

Speech and language develop simultaneously with the growing brain as do motor skills, balance, coordination and sensory integration. If any part of this process is disturbed, it is likely that any part of the developmental domain may be compromised. Whilst children with Autism rarely have hearing problems, they do tend to display abnormal listening patterns. They can be hypersensitive to certain sounds and as a result can shut themselves off from auditory stimulation either from their own voice or from the outside environment. This may lead to an unwillingness to communicate both verbally and physically.