Bass Audiology is an Auditory Processing Clinic.
If you have concerns about your child or yourself, we are here to help! Dr. Sheehan has over 20 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of APD. When you call our office, please speak with Jill our office manager, and she will guide you through the process of our scheduling.
Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder
The formal definition of APD is malfunction or disruption of the ability to perceive and process auditory signals within the central nervous system. Through a battery of diagnostic testing, individuals with APD can be identified and helped.
There are different types of APD, therefore symptoms can vary from person to person. Here is a list of typical symptoms:
- Frequently saying “what?” or “huh?”
- Difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise
- Difficulty following lengthy or multiple-step directions
- Mishearing what they heard
- Slow to respond to what is told them
- Easily distracted by noises around them, even soft noises
- Overwhelmed by noisy environments (classrooms, parties...)
- Difficulty maintaining attention when someone is talking
- Inconsistent or inappropriate responses to spoken requests to information
- Difficulty remembering spoken information
- Poor memory for lists of numbers or words
- Poor reading fluency and/or reading comprehension
- Poor spelling skills
- Prefer loud TV volume
- Difficulty with fast speech
- Difficulty listening and taking notes at the same time
- Organizational problems
- Difficulty understanding jokes or sarcasm
- Difficulty locating sounds
How Is An Auditory Processing Disorder Diagnosed?
Our office primarily use the Buffalo Model for diagnosing and treating auditory processing issues, which was developed by Jack Katz, PH.D. while at the University of Buffalo. We assess patients (ages 7 years and older) on the degree to which they deviate from the norms on several listening tests. The tests measure a person's performance in four categories:
Decoding: The ability to process phonemes quickly and accurately, or the sounds of speech.
Tolerance-Fading Memory: The ability to understand speech while in competing noise and the necessary short-term memory capacity to do so.
Organization: The ability to organize and store orally presented information in the brain.
Integration: The ability for the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate.
Things I Wish Parents Knew About Their Child with APD:
He is not always being defiant. With APD, your child cannot always process what you tell him. When he does not respond right away, do not assume he’s being rude or naughty. He simply may not comprehend what you asked of him. He wants to understand you! He’s just not able to.
The link between hearing and APD is confusing at times. Your child may hear tiny soft sounds that you do not. These may distract and irritate him. He may notice sounds others ignore, but still can’t “hear” what you tell him. This seems a contradiction. APD is processing issue, not a hearing issue.
Background noise makes everything harder! Things as simple as the air conditioner running, the dishwasher, foot steps coming down the hallway or the buzz of a fluorescent bulb nearby will compete with your voice. When you need to share important information, get to a quiet room. Write down your comments if you cannot escape the noise. Restaurants are very difficult for him. Make eye contact and speak a little slower than normal.
Rephrase, Rephrase, Rephrase.... Repeating the same words is not always helpful. Choose different words and try again.
Auditory processing difficulties are unrelated to intelligence. Highly intelligent people can have APD. Often people who mishear what is said are treated like they lack intellect, lack attention, or are rude. Students with APD can feel “stupid”, when in fact, they are highly intelligent.
The Good News: There is treatment!
At Bass Audiology, our focus is less on a lifelong disorder and MORE toward systematically identifying an auditory processing weakness that needs to be treated and improved. Dr. Sheehan will develop an individual treatment plan for each patient, based on their specific needs.
Why are APD services “Private Pay Only” and not contracted with insurance providers?
Quite simply, the third-party payment system does not reimburse adequately for many medical services. For APD services, it only reimburses a tiny fraction of what is billed– not enough to begin to pay for the time and expensive equipment involved. On average, each APD evaluation process takes 6 hours (interviews, records review, specialty tests, report-writing, and follow-up consultation to cover the results, recommendations and create a therapy plan).
We are passionate about children & adults with processing disorders and put a lot of experience, time and heart into each patient’s case. We refuse to cut corners and limit our care in order to squeeze into an insurance company’s reimbursement structure. That would not serve APD patients well.
Bottom line: We wish insurance companies recognized the value of diagnosing and treating APD. But, at this time, they do not. We cannot provide APD services based on what they pay. (Few audiologists offer APD services for this very reason.) Therefore, we are out-of-network with all insurance companies (except Medicare). APD practices cannot remain viable, much less increase its quality and scope of service offerings, based on insurance reimbursement. This is sad, because there is a huge need for these services! Therefore, in order to provide cutting edge treatment, our APD services are private pay only.
Thank you for your understanding.