Amanda Fujiki and Dr. David McPherson, Communication Disorders
The term auditory processing disorder (APD) refers to a diverse collection of problems in the processing of auditory information. An individual with an APD may have hearing acuity within normal limits; that is, the middle ear (conductive) and inner ear (sensory) systems may function typically. The individual may demonstrate a breakdown occurring within the central nervous system, however, and this breakdown may limit the individual’s ability to understand, interpret, and use auditory information. Auditory processing disorders are thought to interfere with language development and literacy learning (Geffner, 2007, MacFarland & Cacace, 2009). The effects of APD may be highly variable ranging from mild language/learning disorders to severe language and communicative impairment. In addition, APD may be associated with difficulties in social communication and social skill.
Assessment of auditory processing disorders is essential to designing intervention programs to facilitate learning. Accurate identification and evaluation of auditory processing disorders is challenging, however (Keith, 2009). Typical individuals demonstrate a range of abilities in performing certain auditory tasks, and it can be difficult to differentiate the performance of individuals with APD from that of typical individuals. There has not been sufficient normative data available to support the identification of behavioral patterns that are outside the range of typical behavior and therefore clinically significant.
The purpose of the current study was to improve the ability to identify APD by supplying more extensive normative data demonstrating how typical individuals perform on a wide variety of hearing and processing measures. I recruited and tested 12 participants for this study. Data from the participants that I tested were then combined with that from other participants to form a larger data set.
Participants included men and women between the ages of 18 and 26 years. All participants completed an interview indicating they had no history of head trauma, drug abuse, or neuropsychiatric disorders including, but not limited to, ADHD, cognitive delays, or learning impairments. Only right-handed individuals were used in this study since hand dominance is highly correlated with hemispheric dominance. Most individuals that are right handed are also left hemisphere dominant. Those with right hemisphere dominance have been noted to process information differently. All participants signed an informed consent document approved by the Institutional Review Board of Brigham Young University. I administered a battery consisting of eleven audiological tests. Each of the measures was administered individually to each participant in a single walled, isolated sound booth environment. Results were recorded and synthesized using the software/hardware system developed by Dr. David McPherson of the Department of Communication Disorders. Results of the test battery administered to each participant were calculated to determine the group mean and range of performance for each measure. These data were then employed to probe the clinical viability of the assessment procedures.
Data resulting from this study were also employed to determine masking level differences (a component of auditory processing test batteries) in male and female adults. This work resulted in the following presentation:
McPherson, D., Senderski, A., Harris, R., Kochanek, K., Skarzynski, H., Burnham, M., Fujiki, A. (2010). Psychometric Auditory Function of Young Adults Using an Adaptive Automated Procedure. Paper presented at the 30th International Congress of Audiology, Sao Paulo, Brazil
In addition, this work has been submitted for publication as follows;
McPherson, D., Senderski, A., Burnham, M., Fujiki, A., Harris, R., Skarzynski, H.,Kochanek, K. Masking Level Difference in an Adaptive Procedure for Clinical Investigation. Submitted to The International Journal of Audiology.
I am extremely grateful for the ORCA undergraduate research award that I received. This award allowed me the extraordinary opportunity to be part of Dr. McPherson’s research team consisting of undergraduate students, graduate students, and internationally recognized researchers. I learned to administer a wide battery of central auditory processing measures and to assist in data collection, analysis, and synthesis of results. This was an incredible experience for an undergraduate student! Thank you so very much!
- Geffner, D. (2007). Central auditory processing disorders: Definition, description, and behaviors. In D. Geffner, & D. Ross-Swain, (Ed.), Auditory processing disorders: Assessment, management, and treatment. San Diego: Plural Pub.
- Keith, R. W. (2009). Controversies in standardization of auditory processing tests. In A. T. Cacace, & D. J. McFarland (Eds.), Controversies in central auditory processing disorder (pp. 169-186). San Diego: Plural Pub.
- McFarland, D. J., & Cacace, A. T. (2009). Models of central auditory processing abilities and disorders. In A. T. Cacace, & D. J. McFarland (Eds.), Controversies in central auditory processing disorder (pp. 93-107). San Diego: Plural Pub.