It has been estimated that approximately 58 percent of people who have traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have acquired central auditory deficits as a result of the injury (Int J Audiol 2005;44:39-49). Studies indicate that the most common complaint following a closed head injury is, in fact, hearing loss and tinnitus.
The impact of a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) on communication, learning, job performance, and social interactions is enormous! Although an audiogram conducted by a licensed audiologist is a critical first step, the traditional audiological evaluation does not tax the auditory system adequately in order to determine its ability to understand and process speech and language under real-world conditions. It is important that individuals with a history of TBI who complain of difficulty hearing are evaluated fully for an auditory processing disorder so that effective treatment plans can be implemented. When left untreated, these symptoms may delay a return to work or school, and may contribute to a feeling of social isolation, mood disturbances, and even suicide.
Common signs of an auditory processing disorder following a TBI include:
- Increased difficulty producing or understanding speech
- Difficulty reading or remembering what has been read
- Increased struggle to hear in noisy environments, such as a restaurant or lecture hall
- Difficulty remembering what was heard
- Difficulty remembering verbal directions
For more information on the relationship between a Traumatic Brain Injury and a Central Auditory Processing Deficit, click here.