How Can You Test for Auditory Perception Disorders?

Auditory perception disorder is a condition where the individual is unable to process auditory sounds or auditory objects. This usually occurs in children who experience a delay in the brain’s auditory centers. In other cases, auditory perception disorder is caused by neurological issues and conditions like lead poisoning, tumors, head trauma, auditory deprivation, etc. Auditory perception disorder is often co-morbid or co-existent with other disorders like dyslexia, visual perception disorders, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

Auditory perception disorder can be detected through specialized tests designed to measure the functioning of the brain’s auditory processes. Before the individual goes through these specialized tests, however, he has to go through a routine hearing test. The specialized auditory tests that can detect any problems fall into two types: electrophysiologic tests and behavioral tests. The type of test taken by the individual depends on several factors including age, the specific auditory problems experienced, the child’s cognitive abilities, etc. Children under 7 years old, or those who have significant cognitive problems, cannot take tests for auditory perception disorder. Here are some of the major tests that can detect auditory perception disorder.

  1. Electrophysiologic tests. These tests are designed to measure the brain’s ability to respond to auditory objects. Electrodes are attached to the child’s head and earlobes to measure the electrical activity from the central nervous system as it responds to auditory examples. The auditory example is usually a clicking sound. The results from electrophysiological tests are recorded and then compared to children from the child’s age group to see if there are any abnormalities.
  2. Behavioral tests. Since our auditory system’s neural pathways are very rich, a normal child can often recognize speech sounds even if parts of it are missing. However, children with auditory perception disorder cannot do this. Behavioral tests are designed to see the child’s ability to comprehend what is being said even if there are gaps in information. The auditory examples used in the test have been modified electronically by changing the intensity, timing, or frequency. The child will be asked to repeat the words that have been said, and he or she will be given a score. The score will then be compared to the child’s age group.
  3. Speech tests. Speech tests fall under behavioral tests. Different auditory examples will be presented simultaneously in both ears. Usually, the auditory examples are numbers. The child will then be asked to repeat everything or what was heard in one ear. A percentage score will be taken and compared to the child’s age group.
  4. Temporal patterning tests. These specialized tests are designed to measure the child’s ability to recognize the order of presentation of auditory stimuli and understand and process nonverbal auditory examples. The child will be asked to hum the patterns to test the right hemisphere, and the child will be asked to describe the patterns to test the left hemisphere. This test will find out if the auditory portions in both hemispheres are working well or if there are any abnormalities. 


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