Spatial Auditory Processing Disorder

Spatial Auditory Processing Disorder (SAPD) falls under the umbrella term of Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD). Spatial auditory issues occur when the normal auditory processing capabilities of the brain are not able to selectively focus on sounds coming from one direction whilst suppressing sounds coming from other directions. The result is a frustrating inability to hear and locate certain sounds in the immediate vicinity of a listener. SAPD can go hand in hand with Autism. So, my recommendation is to go get tested to rule out this condition if you’ve never seen an audiologist before.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder was one of the things that were never brought with me with specialists when I received my adult diagnosis of Autism.  I can say it was an issue I was aware of but never had a name for. For instance, I always had trouble hearing what someone was saying next to me in a crowded room or I could pick up a private conversation on the other side of the room at work. I received a diagnosis of Spatial Auditory Processing Disorder shortly after my comprehensive cognitive assessment. When my results were reviewed by the clinician it became apparent that I experienced issues with my hearing, but needed further testing to pinpoint what exactly the issue was. I then went to my general practitioner to receive a referral to see an audiologist so that I could undergo testing on my hearing.

The testing at the audiologist took approximately 1.5 hours. The results of that test, which came around a week later, was that I had Spatial Auditory Processing Disorder. Treatment included continued sessions with the Audiologist.

If you fit the criteria for the Chronic Disease Management Plan, then your GP will be able to assist you to get rebates five sessions with the audiologist. Also, with the right private health insurance, you might be able to get sessions. Otherwise, you’ll need to fund full treatment at your own expense. And that can be costly (e.g. from $140 per hour).

Thanks for reading!

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