Auditory Processing Disorder: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Auditory processing disorder is a type of learning disability in which the brain cannot adequately interpret what the ears hear. The term actually refers to a variety of disorders in signaling involving the hearing process.

Signs and symptoms associated with auditory processing disorder and other disorders of receptive language can include an inability or reduced ability to understand speech, problems understanding speech when background noise is present, difficulty repeating or recalling all the words in a sentence, and difficulty following directions given orally, particularly complex directions.

Cause of auditory processing disorder

Medical professionals do not understand the exact cause of auditory processing disorder, but both genetic and environmental factors may play a role in its development.

Other auditory processing disorder symptoms and signs

  • Difficulty Following Directions Given Orally
  • Difficulty Recalling All the Words in a Sentence
  • Problems Understanding Speech When Background Noise Is Present
  • Reduced Ability to Understand Speech


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.