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What is the difference between APD and CAPD?

Donna Geffner, PhD, CCC-SLP/A, Deborah Ross Swain, EdD

November 28, 2022



What is the difference between APD and CAPD?


The terms APD and CAPD are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms reflect the controversy of whether the auditory processing disorder lies within the central auditory system or results from a breakdown in the entire auditory mechanism. Once the auditory stimulus enters the ear, it transforms from an acoustic signal to a lexical and then a linguistic signal to be interpreted by the brain. This process is a bottom-up process; thus, there is a need for a multimodality function and the involvement of the entire auditory system. Other audiologists restrict the term to the central auditory system only - that is the system beyond the peripheral one since an auditory processing disorder does not involve the outer, middle, or inner ear or the lower brain stem. The position used by ASHA (2005a) is that APD is not a hearing loss, but instead, it is a loss of hearing perception. For this disorder to be totally limited to the central auditory channel is not tenable, neurophysiologically (ASHA, 2005a). Further, a disorder could be due to damage to the auditory nerves from head trauma, complications or middle ear infections, lead poisoning, long-standing OME, and other causes. How auditory processing takes place in the central nervous system is an integrative process and involves several modalities and systems. 

This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the course, 20Q: Auditory Processing - What You Always Wanted to Know

donna geffner

Donna Geffner, PhD, CCC-SLP/A

Donna Geffner, PhD is a dually licensed and certified speech-language pathologist and audiologist who maintains a private practice after serving for 40 years as a Program Director and Clinical Director for a university in New York. Her practice is in Long Island where she evaluates and treats a population of children and adults with auditory processing disorders. She is the author of 5 books, over 300 articles/webinars and a former ASHA president.

deborah ross swain

Deborah Ross Swain, EdD

Deborah Ross Swain, Ed.D. is a speech-language pathologist and Clinical Director and CEO of The Swain Center for Listening, Communicating and Learning in Santa Rosa, California. She specializes in assessment and intervention of processing disorders, learning disabilities and early intervention. She is the author of numerous standardized tests and books. She is a nationally and internationally recognized speaker and a former president of the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Related Courses

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