Prevalence and severity of auditory processing deficits in adjudicated adolescents screened with dichotic listening tests: Implications for diagnosis and intervention


Children with auditory processing disorders have difficulties with reading, spelling, and language. Untreated disorders are likely to exacerbate academic underachievement and may contribute to negative behaviors including delinquency. Clinical referrals for auditory processing assessment are rare in the population of adjudicated adolescents for whom personal, family, and school conditions complicate diagnosis and intervention for disabilities. Screening methods were used in this study to identify adjudicated adolescents at risk for auditory processing disorder (APD) to establish prevalence and severity of several types of auditory processing weakness that are assessed with dichotic listening tests. Seventy-two percent of the 399 adjudicated adolescents screened with the Randomized Dichotic Digits Test produced abnormally low auditory processing scores with 17% producing equally poor performance in both ears (decoding), 25% producing poor performance in only one ear (amblyaudia), and 30% producing poor performance in both ears together with a large interaural asymmetry (amblyaudia plus). A majority of abnormal results fell into the borderline category of severity for both dominant ear performance and interaural asymmetry, but many adolescents produced abnormal scores indicative of mild to severe disabilities (16.4% in the decoding category and 25.9% in the amblyaudia category). Results from adjudicated adolescents were similar to scores obtained by children assessed clinically for APD. The generally poor performance and high prevalence of mildly to severely abnormal scores in this population indicate a significant need for follow-up screening, diagnosis, and intervention. © 2014 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Publication Title

Seminars in Hearing