Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is difficult disorder to diagnose. 

For those who have APD, their ear "hears," but the brain has trouble processing the signal, and translating it into useful information.


This can make it difficult for those with APD to follow a conversation, especially in noisy or overwhelming environments.

Who has APD?

APD occurs in about 5–15% of children – estimates vary. It is more common in boys. Children with APD are usually of normal intelligence and may pass standard hearing tests. 


APD may be caused by:

  • hereditary factors

  • birth-related factors

  • delay in milestones

  • glue ear (otitis media) in infancy or early childhood.


Signs and symptoms can include:

  • difficulty understanding and remembering what people say unless it is clear and simple

  • difficulty hearing in noisy settings

  • extreme tiredness after school

  • learning problems with language, spelling, vocabulary, reading or writing.



Diagnosis requires specialised testing. Many children remain undiagnosed and can sadly be mislabelled as disruptive or slow. 

Hearing aids and microphone: first-line treatment

There is good evidence that specialised hearing aids and a microphone using FM technology are effective. Experts say this is the first intervention to try. Studies also show that these aids may improve a child’s natural hearing over time.

The system consists of a lapel-style or a ‘pop-star’-style microphone, which the teacher or parent wears. This transmits their voice wirelessly to a receiver attached to the child’s hearing aids and/or cochlear implants.

We’re taking action on APD

APD is still not fully understood by the government, schools or the community. Every day, many New Zealanders with APD are silently failing because of lack of awareness.


Funding gap

Currently many New Zealanders with APD are denied full funding for hearing aids. The Foundation is backing their bid for support. Donate to the Hearing Aid Fund today to ensure those with APD can access the life changing devices they need today.


Where can I access support?

Hear for Families is a dedicated charity supporting adults & children with APD.




Guidelines on Auditory Processing Disorder

Click  the button below to get the latest guidelines on auditory processing disorder.


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PO Box 37729 Parnell, Auckland 1151, New Zealand

Phone: 09 307 2922 or 0800 867 446 

Email: enquiries@nfd.org.nz

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