Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is a term to describe how the brain interprets sounds that we hear, for example, the difference in pitch between two sounds.

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a hearing problem that affects about 3%–5% of school-aged children.

Children and adults with this condition can detect sounds at normal levels, but cannot process and understand what they hear in the same way other people do. This is because their ears and brain don’t fully coordinate. Something interferes with the way the brain recognises and interprets sounds, especially speech.

When CAPD occurs in children, it can lead to learning difficulties and sometimes behavioural issues as they struggle to process sounds and maintain concentration.

A parent, specialist or teacher may suspect a child with CAPD if they have:-

  • Difficulty following instruction
  • Difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise
  • Difficulty learning in background noise
  • Difficulty with direction of sound (localisation)
  • Difficulty with reading and spelling
  • Becomes easily distracted
  • Poor verbal skills
  • Behavioural and self-esteem issues

What age can we assess for Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) tests can only be performed on children from 7.5 years old and on adults.

Assessing Central Auditory Processing Disorder

If a child or adult is suspected to have CAPD then he or she can be assessed over two appointments:

  • First appointment, 30-45 minutes: Taking a case history to learn about the said clients learning and hearing skills and performing a CAPD hearing test to rule out any undetected hearing loss.

Results of the first appointment will determine whether the second CAPD assessment appointment is required.  If yes, a questionnaire will be sent home with you to complete in-conjunction with the teacher/specialist.  The questionnaire is emailed back to us before the second appointment so our audiologist can prepare the CAPD assessment.

  • Second appointment, 90 minutes: Performing a series of Central Auditory Processing Disorder Assessment. Intermittent breaks are provided to ensure the child/adult remains alert and energised.

Appointment Times

CAPD assessments for children are performed in the morning only as this is when they are likely to be more energised and alert.  For adults, it can be the morning or early afternoon. The first and second appointments must be conducted within 3 weeks of each other.

Management of CAPD

Management of CAPD involves a team approach with other professionals. For a child, these include Speech Pathologists and Teachers. This typically involves three approaches:

  • Environment modifications such as seating the child away from distracting noises
  • Using a FM system to direct important sound directly to wearer and reduce unwanted background and speech noise
  • The use of intervention programs designed to improve auditory processing in children
  • Teaching compensatory strategies so the child can cope better in daily listening environments


$175.00 – First appointment for CAPD Hearing Test, Consultation and Report. Appointment approx 30-45 minutes. Payment at appointment.
$500.00 – Second appointment for CAPD Intensive Assessment and Report. Appointment approx 90 minutes. Payment at appointment.

Medicare: NO rebate unless patient has an Enhanced Primary Care Plan referral from their GP. You must submit the receipt to Medicare to receive your rebate.

Health Fund: HiCaps is not available for audiology, thus check with your health fund to see if CAPD is covered under your policy. Receipt with the clinician’s provider number will be provided to claim on your health fund.

CAPD Specialists and Location

Central Auditory Processing Disorder assessments are available at the below locations by Audiologist trained in CAPD.  You can request a free, 15 minute phone discussion with an audiologist to advise whether CAPD testing is required for your child/you.

Signe – Neutral Bay

Dr Ally – Bondi Junction

Michael – Caringbah and West Pennant Hills

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