Auditory Processing Disorder After a Concussion: Mother’s Worry About EVERYTHING

Hearing Health & Technology Matters
November 13, 2012

I have two sons, one more interested in sports than the other.  They are ages 9 and 11, and during these younger years, we tried to expose them to many things.  I have to admit, though, I am not one to have them get involved in more than one or two extracurricular activities outside of school.

One reason may be that I was not raised that way, and I had time to just play with my friends.  It is a different world now since the 1970s and I do miss the boat sometimes. Back to Sean, my oldest. Every week he is going to be a professional athlete in a different sport: hockey and football (neither of which he has been exposed to very much), baseball, basketball, you name it.  As parents, we’re usually pretty open in saying that you can be whatever you want if you work hard enough.  But I make an exception for football.  I am very afraid of concussions in sports as he grows older.

Connection has been found linking concussions to many cognitive issues. As a hearing-centered person, I wanted to see if there was a link between concussions and auditory processing disorder (APD).  The conclusions showed that there is a disruption in the neurological mechanisms that involve auditory processes.

When many of us think of hearing disorders, we think of an abnormal audiogram. But APD is sometimes difficult to diagnose without specialized testing beyond an audiogram.  Many younger people diagnosed with APD have a normal audiogram and a number of the APD studies performed on college-aged people ruled out tinnitus, hearing loss, attention deficit disorder, or other psychiatric disorders.

What does Auditory Processing Disorder mean? ADP is present when there is a disconnect between what the ear picks up and what the brain interprets.  This can result in difficulties with attention, speech production, and reading.

With APD added to the list of consequences of concussions, I probably will be encouraging Sean to set his sights on a career in basketball, which carries less risk of concussion than football.  Now I will start to worry about whether or not my artistic younger son is using lead-based paint in his projects!

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