Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is an incurable, lifelong condition that affects the way that the brain processes sound including speech. APD is thought to be caused by damage to the brain and it is therefore a medical (neurological) condition, therefore not one that can be diagnosed by education professionals. APD does not affect the hearing mechanism (ears etc) and it can also exist in people with perfect hearing as well as co-existing in those with additional hearing loss. In someone with normal hearing, speech is heard effectively. However, the brain plays a vital role in the hearing process. Without it, what we hear is just unintelligible noise - it has to be processed effectively by the brain in order to make sense. To put it simply, for someone with APD, speech does not always make sense (but it has a variety of other effects too) . Yet many organisations that support people with hearing difficulties (and some audiologists and other professionals) still don't recognise or support APD, even though it greatly affects the final stage of the hearing process.  Whether a child or adult is born with it or acquires it, APD is not their fault and they are not alone.

Recent international research has indicated that APD is thought to be present in 5% to 7% of children (some sources say up to 10% or 1 in 10) and in over 20% of adults. The amount increases steeply in children who have learning disabilities, with up to 40% of those children also having Auditory Processing deficits. By comparison, according to the WHO in 2019, Autism/ASD is thought to affect only 1 in 160 children worldwide (with an estimated 1.1% in the UK).

Please remember:

  • APD can affect up to 10% of children (40% if they also have learning disabilities) and 20% of adults
  • APD has a unique presentation in everyone
  • APD is a medical condition and in the UK, only a consultant in audiovestibular medicine or an audiologist with specialism in APD is qualified to diagnose it,
  • APD affects all aspects of life due to its effects on both receptive and expressive communication
  • There will be other co-existing conditions and reciprocal effects
  • APD is not a learning disability but it can cause great problems with learning due to it effects on communication
  • APD is a cause of dyslexia in an estimated 70% of cases
  • APD has intermittent and variable effects
  • APD has many potential causes included late-onset/age-related 
  • APD is a lifelong disability
  • The need for frequent sensory breaks to avoid sensory overload
  • APD is a recognised medical condition
  • APD does not affect intellect
  • Someone with APD is not "stupid", "lazy" or "broken"
  • Self-esteem and confidence are often affected
  • APD is exhausting and can lead to, stress, anxiety and depression
  • Disability discrimination and educational negligence can occur
  • With the right support, people with APD can and will succeed
  • There is a need for wider support and recognition. 

APD facts, tips, and events are available every week on our social media pages and on our Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/APDSupportUK

Alyson Mountjoy, Chair APD Support UK

 CONTACT: apd.support.uk@aol.co.uk


APD is recognised as a hearing disorder by the 2021 World Health Organisation (WHO) "Report on Hearing” in section 1.3.3 page 37, as below:  https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/world-report-on-hearing


Below is the "About APD" document for you to download. It lists facts, effects and strategies and explains myths around APD as a series of commonly-asked questions.   

©Alyson Mountjoy.

Please read, print and share with family, friends, schools and other professionals.

PLEASE NOTE: The documents on this website are in black ink on white paper. For those with dyslexia or visual processing difficulties, it is advised to print the documents on recycled paper, to minimise glare.

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A one-page document containing a brief list of basic facts about APD. It is intended to signpost those who have APD to this website, and those who suspect APD, or simply want to learn more about it. Please share with anyone you feel needs to know more about APD. This is available below as a .PDF document and a .JPG image.

APD Factsheet.pdf APD Factsheet.pdf
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APD Factsheet-.jpg APD Factsheet-.jpg
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Our testing centres document, "APD Testing Centres" can now be found  on our Diagnosis page. It has details of all suitable testing centres, the testing process etc.

If you are a professional who runs an APD testing centre that is not included in our list and you feel that it should be added, or you are a parent/patient who has been referred to a centre not on that list, either for yourself or your child, please email: apd.support.uk@aol.co.uk


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