Is CAPD the same as Dyslexia?

How do I find out if I or my loved one has a CAPD?

What if we already have had CAPD testing but are not sure what to do next?

The following is the definition listed on the International Dyslexia Association's website:  

















By this definition, CAPD would be one of the neurobiological origins of the Dyslexia, or one of its causes, often creating the deficit in the phonological component of language.  Dyslexia is often the result of a CAPD, just as is a speech/language delay or deficit.

What are some of the signs of a CAPD?

What exactly is Central Auditory Processing Disorder?  (CAPD)

Children and adults can have a CAPD.  Although sometimes you can grow out of it, CAPD usually requires therapy to help remediate it; so if you had it as a child and did not receive therapy, it is likely that you still have it.  CAPD can run in families.  It can be due to poor auditory stimulation as a child perhaps from recurrent ear infections, to insults to the brain which occurred during or after childbirth, or to head trauma experienced later in life.  CAPD has been associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury.  In short, a CAPD may have many possible causes and at this time we typically cannot know definitely the cause of a CAPD.  


Central Auditory Processing is what happens to sound once it hits your central nervous system.  The ears are only the entry point for sound to enter.  The information that is received from both ears is analyzed as it travels up to the brain, and then once there, it is decoded, sequences and patterns of incoming sound are identified and integrated, and then it is all sent to the language processing areas of the brain so that we can begin to understand it.  A CAPD is when there is a breakdown in those auditory processes.  Someone might have difficulty identifying what sounds are coming in, or identifying sequences or patterns of sound, or difficulty in putting all the information together so it can be understood easily.  

Can CAPD happen with other disabilities?

Yes, just because a person has been diagnosed with another developmental disability does mean they do not have a CAPD.  Often ADHD inattentive type can be confused with CAPD, but they can also both be present.  Persons with Sensory Processing Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, a history of ear infections, and speech/language delays are at higher risk for CAPD.  It is important to identify the presence of a CAPD even when a person has another diagnosis so that recommendations for remediation, accommodations and modifications can be made for a person's specific type of CAPD. 

Sometimes, even after testing, you may still have questions, or you may feel that you are not doing as much as you can to help your loved one.  When I first started to test for CAPD over 35 years ago, it was very frustrating.  We were able to identify the problem was there, but we didn't know what to do about it.  This was just around the time that the concept of brain plasticity was realized - that if we stimulate the nervous system in a certain way, we can create a change!  What a difference that made!  Now we know that we can improve someone's ability to use the sounds that enter through the ears by TRAINING!!  Wow!  And we have fabulous programs to do just that on our Services page.  Don't hesitate to contact us at                                                  for help.

In early childhood, some signs include:

  • Delayed speech and language development
  • Difficulty tolerating loud or sudden sounds
  • ​Changes in behavior in noisy environments
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Lack of awareness of sound (like not responding consistently to their name)
  • May be easily overwhelmed if overstimulated


As a child grows the previous signs may persist and may become more pronounced or may decrease in intensity.  Additionally, they may:

  • Misunderstand what is said, or what someone means or feels
  • Appear to be disinterested or inattentive
  • Be able to repeat what was said to them but not understand
  • Misunderstand humor or sarcasm
  • Have reading fluency, reading comprehension, writing and/or spelling problems
  • Have behavior problems resulting from boredom in a class they cannot follow
  • ​Be easily frustrated and angry
  • Have difficulty making and/or keeping friends - may prefer to do things alone
  • Become withdrawn or overly active in a noisy stimulating atmosphere, like a party
  • ​Have difficulty understanding new tasks or concepts, requiring frequent repetition of instructions
  • Require visual cues in order to understand


Adults with CAPD may experience the previous signs, but also may show:

  • Depression
  • Isolation from others especially in noisy or crowded environments
  • Frequent misunderstanding of what is said or meant
  • High frustration and intolerance in certain situations

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

No, not only are there different types of CAPD, but because we all have different personalities and experiences, we are affected differently.  Some may take things more literally, others may be more disorganized.  Some may be very sensitive to tone of voice, others may block things out and appear unfazed.  Some may have difficulty with phonics, while others' reading fluency may be fine but comprehension is poor.  

CAPD is diagnosed by an audiologist.  An audiologist is the only professional who has the tools and training to accurately assess the function of the auditory system.  Although other professionals can identify the deficits that a CAPD can cause, they cannot determine if a CAPD is present or not.  Not all audiologists test for CAPD.  Finding an audiologist with experience with CAPD will provide you with the assistance you need.  The American Academy of Audiology website allows you to search for audiologists with expertise in auditory processing in your geographic area.  Don't hesitate to contact us at                                            

for help - that's why we're here!

Who can have a CAPD?

Do all people with CAPD have the same

symptoms?