Condition descriptions

Our ability to hear and interpret sound comes from our brain and not our ears. Children with hearing loss face greater challenges developing their listening, language and social skills because they experience greater difficulty hearing and interpreting sound.

If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, it must be addressed immediately, regardless of whether the loss is in one ear or both ears, or if it varies or remains the same. Unlike adults, any delay in treating a child’s hearing loss can impair their listening, language and social development because they are still learning how to make sense of what they hear.

At The Shepherd Centre our team of qualified audiologists, listening and spoken language therapists and child family counsellors can work together with you and your family to provide you with the best possible outcomes. If you suspect your child may have a hearing loss, you can contact us to organise a hearing test or call your local Hearing Australia office to arrange a check-up. Below we have put together a brief list of common hearing loss conditions:

Symmetrical hearing loss

This means the degree of hearing loss is the same in both ears.

Asymmetrical hearing loss

This means the degree of hearing loss is different in both ears.


Bilateral hearing loss

This means hearing loss occurs in both ears. It can be in the outer ear, middle ear or inner ear and may be symmetrical or asymmetrical.

Unilateral hearing loss

This means hearing loss occurs in one ear only and can be in the outer, middle or inner ear.

Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)
– also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD)

This covers a range of hearing disorders that arise when the brain is unable to understand information within a sound because its hearing and listening processing abilities are impaired. APD doesn’t just affect the ability to hear sound, it also makes it difficult to understand speech and identify the direction certain sounds come from.

Spatial Processing Disorder (SPD)

This is a common type of APD. It happens when the brain’s auditory processing can’t decide what direction one sound is coming from or contain sounds coming from other directions. This means the listener is unable to perceive or pinpoint certain sounds in their immediate environment. Children with APD have trouble understanding conversations when there is background noise, experience difficulty in locating specific sounds and find learning in a classroom challenging. Unlike other hearing problems, APD happens on an irregular basis, so children may have no trouble processing different sounds one day but another day strain to comprehend the sounds around them. If left untreated, APD can hinder a child’s learning abilities.

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