Issues in diagnosing and treating auditory processing disorders

Contact Name: Prof Harvey Dillon

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Dr Dillon is Director of Research at the National Acoustic Laboratories in Sydney. Dr Dillon has performed research into many aspects of hearing aids. At various times he has also been responsible for the design of hearing aids and for the co-ordination of clinical service provision. Most recently, his research has concerned signal processing schemes for hearing aids, prescription of hearing aids, evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation, electrophysiological assessment, diagnosis and remediation of auditory processing disorders, and methods for preventing hearing loss. Dr Dillon is the author of over 200 scientific publications and a widely used text book on hearing aids and is frequently invited to give keynote addresses at international conferences. He has been closely associated with the various NAL prescription rules, COSI outcomes evaluation, the trainable hearing aid, the LiSN-S test of spatial hearing loss, and clinical cortical response testing.

Diagnosing and treating auditory processing disorders (APD) are both critical to assist children with this problem, but both are plagued by difficulties.  Diagnosing is difficult because (a) APD is really a collection of different types of disorders that all affect auditory perception; (b) the real-life symptoms of APD are shared with disorders that are not APD, and (c) deficits that are not APD can cause poor performance on many tests designed to diagnose APD.  Treatment for APD can comprise any or all of Management, Compensation, and Remediation.  Management is relatively straightforward and centres around improving the clarity of speech presented to the child.  Compensation (to assist the child develop skills that compensate for the effects of the deficit) has been little studied.  Remediation backed by evidence of effectiveness exists for very, very few types of APD



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