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Auditory Processing


This does not relate to the inability to hear sounds, but to the inability to process the meaning of sounds. There is no relationship between auditory processing challenegs and a child's general level of intelligence. The child's challenges in interpreting the sounds they hear can vary from day to day. Children with Auditory Processing Difficulties can struggle to decode receptive language and this can negatively influence their learning and engagement at home and school. 


The three main causes of Auditory Processing Difficulties include, Neurological Diseases or Disorders, delay in the development of the Central Nervous Auditory System and damage in the left hemisphere of the brain. Auditory Processing Difficulties can occur in conjunction with other conditions such as Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD or Dyspraxia. In these cases treatment of the auditory processing difficulties is seen to have a positive effect on the symptoms of the other conditions.


Difficulties the child may experience: 

  • Behavioural issues.
  • Sense of isolation.
  • Frustration.
  • Expressive and Receptive Communication Difficulties.
  • Delayed language development.
  • Difficulty in distinguishing between different frequencies of sounds.
  • Short attention span.
  • Difficulties in academic tasks such as spelling, reading and comprehension.
  • Irregularity in responses to verbal stimuli.
  • Difficulty settling in crowded and noisy environments.
  • Poor short term oral recall.


Aims of therapy: 

Hemispheres is not an audiology centre, but we are recognised practitioners in the delivery of the Listening Programme, one of many different auditory stimulation  programmes commercially available.

The aim for including this type of intervention in therapy would be to:

  • Improve expressive and receptive communication.
  • Improve attention and concentration in busy environments.
  • Enhance speech and language recognition speed.
  • Improve short term and long term memory of auditory information especially.
  • Have greater co-ordination and balance skills.
  • Reduce social isolation and increase social interaction with peers/family/adults.
  • Reduce sensory overload.



Auditory Processing

Hemispheres Approach: 

Hemispheres works from a neurological foundation, and auditory integration is a valued aspect of natural development.  Whilst Hemispheres primarily use a specific, specialised movement programme to develop, mature and improve the connectivity and functioning of the whole brain, including the Cerebellum, Brain Stem, Motor and Pre Frontal Cortex, we also look to include auditory stimulation if necessary. If auditory stimulation is required, Hemispheres recommend the Listening Programme. The Listening Programme was developed by Advanced Brain Technologies in the US as a non invasive programme to address auditory processing difficulties but it also can improve the integration of the central nervous system if delivered with support.  Hemispheres follows the prescribed schedule for 20 weeks, and then we individualise the programme of listening to address the specific areas pertinent to each child’s therapy.  The listening programme’s psychoacoustically modified music is designed to stimulate, or ‘exercise’ the different functions of the auditory processing systems. This enables the brain to better receive, process, store and utilise the information it receives from the inner ear.  


Average duration: 

The Listening Programme is delivered over a twenty week period at home. Hemisphere will provide distance support during this time, charting the changes and responses a child’s nervous system makes to the different sound frequencies.  After 20 weeks the programme of listening is then individualised to target specific areas of the central nervous system, thereby enhancing the improvements for each individual child. The child’s auditory processing levels are measured at the start and end of the twenty weeks, as well as intermittently whilst the child is receiving therapy, to monitor the benefits of the programme.

Hemispheres Paediatric Occupational Therapy, Surrey, Herts & Hants.
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