Can a School Nurse Screen for an Auditory Processing Disorder?

school auditory processing evaluations “My child behaves like he has a hearing loss even though he passed the school nurse’s hearing test with flying colors.”

If your child appears to have a hearing problem and the school nurse (or pediatrician) screens for hearing loss and proclaims normal hearing, you need to take the next step and rule out an auditory processing disorder (APD).

Only an audiologist can diagnose an auditory disorder and only a very few New Jersey schools have an audiologist on staff. School personnel are not able to assess the integrity of the auditory system.

Recognizing the symptoms of an auditory processing disorder is key because the disorder can co-exist with learning problems and can easily be overlooked and not properly treated.

Does your child:

• Frequently ask the teacher to repeat or clarify (as if there is a hearing problem present)?

• Have a terrible time understanding the teacher and classmates when the classroom is noisy?

• Have difficulty responding to verbal instructions?

• Seem to “tune out” when conversations are complex or involve too many people?

• Seem to struggle to hear and is exhausted at the end of the school day?

We have found that if a parent or pediatrician has not suspected an auditory processing disorder prior to school, a child with APD symptoms is often first referred to us when the child is in the latter part of second grade or the beginning of the third grade, when instruction tends to move from primarily visual to primarily auditory.

If you answered yes to more than one of the above points, Speech and Hearing Associates recommends that you make an appointment with one of our doctors of audiology. We will be able to provide you with preliminary results after the evaluation. Auditory processing evaluations are typically covered under most insurance plans.

APD can be treated, and the best outcomes are obtained with early diagnosis.