Yes, hearing aids can assist with issues related to auditory processing disorder (APD). This form of hearing impairment is neither a form of hearing loss nor a learning disorder, but rather a neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system’s ability to process auditory information such as sound and language. Hearing aid users may experience significant improvements in quality of life as they reconnect to the hearing world around them.
Hearing aids with a remote microphone may help to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in the ears and can be used as part of a strategy to manage APD. Wireless technology has enabled two hearing aids to function together as one system, based on binaural processing which mimics the brain’s ability to process information from both ears.
The benefits of using hearing aids for APD may include improved auditory processing, speech-in-noise performance and working memory scores. A study conducted by the University of Maryland in 2018 found neural plasticity associated with hearing aid use, with improved brain processing after six months of wearing hearing aids for at least eight hours a day.
Further research published in 2022 showed that early stages of brain processing changed rapidly after fitting hearing aids. These changes were not observed in the no hearing aid use group. It is important to note that this adjustment period takes time, however, and knowledge of the time course of neural adaptation may be useful when counselling patients that are fit with hearing aids for the first time.
In conclusion, hearing aids can assist with issues related to auditory processing disorder. The benefits of using hearing aids for APD may include improved auditory processing and speech-in-noise performance. Research suggests that there is a time course of changes in brain processing over the course of six months, with neural plasticity associated with hearing aid use.
Anderson, S. (2022). Auditory Processing Disorder and Hearing Aids: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/hearing-loss/auditory-processing-disorder-and-hearing-aids
Karah, H. (2022). Auditory Perceptual Exercises in Adults Adapting to the Use of Hearing Aids. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 14, 832100. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.832100
Rosenman-Nesson, M. (2021). Hearing Health: Auditory Processing Hearing Loss. Retrieved from https://signia.net/en/blog/global/hearing-health-auditory-processing-hearing-loss/
World Health Organization. (2050). Deafness and hearing loss report. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss