Effective Auditory Training at the Early Stage
Auditory Processing disorder is a phenomenon that results from the lack of proper coordination and the processing of hearing faculties along with response of the brain to the sounds heard. When a sound reaches the ear, it is received by the brain that forms images and stores them. Later when the same sounds are heard again the brain does the work of matching the sounds and then processes the information. Any kind of hindrance in this process that results in the further processing of the information is termed as the APD. This problem is however not to be confused with the higher dysfunctions of the brains and equated with mental retardation.
The fact finding process
Otherwise normal children who suffer from the APD do not suffer from any speech or language problems.
- They are usually examined by the speech and language pathologists in addition to the report of the classroom teacher.
- Before establishing the fact that the child has no physical hearing problem, professional audiometry tests are performed in sound proof conditions to check if the brain is responding to particular sound patterns.
- Advanced electrophysiological tests with electrodes record the appropriate brain response to sound to finally ascertain if there is any congenital defect.
- Finally the behavioral tests will put the final seal on the test to say whether the problem is exclusively auditory processing.
The problem area
In an auditory processing disorder, the hearing function of the brain works fine but the problem lies with the brain not being able to process the sounds frequencies or the pitch that register. Auditory training programs are usually conducted and supervised by the speech and language pathologists with the help of software programs. Children who fare badly in school when the process involves listening and responding while they do considerably well with the written instructions are likely suffering from this syndrome. While children with normal higher mental faculties may suffer from this disorder, children with autism are more likely to have this disorder.
The therapy methods
While no single therapy is said to be effective in treating this syndrome, the Auditory Training Therapy is considered to be quite effective.
- This therapy is understood as alternative treatment and is gaining increasing popularity and is also termed as brain training. It involves the change of the neural response to particular sounds and is referred to as neuroplasticity.
- The therapy is based on the principles that children who suffer from the ADP are either over-sensitive or under-sensitive to certain sound frequencies.
- The training makes use of software that guides children to remember and think about the sounds that they have heard and thus improve their listening skills.
- The children are fitted with special hearing devices that filter sound, amplify particular frequencies and soften the intensity of other sounds.
- By way of games and exercises the children learn to remember the sounds and improve the accuracy of their hearing.
- These exercises and the game plans can also be done at home with proper parental guidance and supervision.
The concerning issues
The basic thrust in the Auditory Training is on the brain being able to distinguish between the different sounds correctly so as to match the images that are existent in the brain. There are both generalized as well as specific programs that aim to provide the segregation of the sounds for those undergoing the training. One of the common issues raised with the auditory training is that it is time consuming and may or may not yield effective results in the long run.
People who opt for the conventional treatment plans often discourage it as being expensive due to the time factor involved in it. The proponents however have reported a large percentage improvement with the brain training programs.
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