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2nd Podcast Transcript

We are excited to share that Dr. Rachel Cohen was recently on The Good Neighbor Podcast. We thought this might be a great place to start our first blog post. Please reach out with any questions or to schedule an appointment. Research shows a large variation in APD population statistics in school children. Although the statistic we shared is pretty low, it's likely much higher. We also wanted to point out that some people with APD get great benefits from low-gain hearing aids or DM microphone systems. Especially children in schools with large classroom sizes and a lot of children in one room. In addition, people with hearing loss can have an auditory processing disorder secondary to the hearing loss. But we wanted to point out that a person does not need hearing loss to have an auditory processing disorder. Hope you enjoy the podcast transcript. You can currently find the voice recording at the following link.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Speaker 1: 0:00

This is the Good Neighbor podcast, the place where local businesses and neighbors come together. Here's your host, Jim Schaller.

Speaker 2: 0:11

Welcome Good Neighbors. Episode number 71 of the Good Neighbor podcast Distarrow. Today we have Good Neighbor Dr Cohen ListenHEAR. How are we doing today?

Speaker 3: 0:22

We are doing really well, thank you. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 2: 0:25

Yes, pleasure getting to talk to you, so let's just jump right in. Why don't you share a little bit about what you do over there?

Speaker 3: 0:33

Sure, so my practice name is ListenHEAR. I've been in practice for almost 20 years, but my office in Estero is about three years old and I focus solely on auditory processing disorders. I am an audiologist, but I do not sell any hearing aids, so that's unusual. I'm very specialized in (auditory) processing and so.. What is auditory processing disorders? It's really what our brain does with what our ears hear. It really happens beyond the ears, so it's a neurological condition and it affects the way that our brain processes auditory information. So sometimes it makes it really hard for individuals to either understand or interpret or remember sounds, especially in noisy environments. So sometimes it's kids, sometimes it's an adult, they might be switching out sounds for another sound and you know this can really affect them emotionally, educationally, with their families. So that is what my focus is here, and we do evaluate and treat auditory processing disorders. We treat it with auditory therapy and we can actually test down to three and a half years old on up, and so for some people the audiologist won't test below seven years old, and for me, and many of us around the world that's too late and they're already failing in school, and so early intervention is really key with these young ones.

Speaker 2: 2:04

Absolutely yeah, getting to detect that earlier, any detection earlier is better. Yeah, that's certain. I mean you mentioned some of them, but are there certain signs that maybe people should be looking for, that they kind of address that?

Speaker 3: 2:18

Yeah, definitely. But definitely, if they are struggling to learn to read as a child, that would be one of the signs if they're diagnosed with dyslexia. Very often, what underlines dyslexia is actually not hearing the sounds properly and switching them in our head. Already, when it comes to learning the graphemes, they're switching the sounds that they're reading. So really that is one of the biggest things. If you have a history of ear infections as a child, that could have led to an auditory processing disorder. Some of the other causes are traumatic brain injuries as adults, and concussions. Even COVID-19 is changing some processing, genetics, obviously, some comorbidity with autism and ADHD. So really, when we're looking at this, we're seeing if are they able to listen to the sounds properly, hear what they hear? Can they listen in noise and background noise? Are they sensitive to loud noises? How are they remembering directions, following directions? Do they understand jokes? Do they know where a sound is coming from? If you're at one of those elevators with the six elevators, can you figure out where that sound came from. All of these are parts of processing and it's super interesting and it's just something I'm really involved in, so you have to be passionate about what you're doing.

Speaker 2: 3:43

Now you mentioned you do this without, without hearing aids. Typically people would think if you have trouble hearing you, you get a hearing aid, but you don't use those correct?

Speaker 3: 3:52

Correct. So one of the things that we can do as an accommodation is provide a low-gain hearing aid or (DM) microphone system. But actually what we found is that when they do go through therapy, most of the people that come in do not need a device after they leave. So we do 14 weeks of therapy, typically for one of the types, there are four different subtypes of processing, and usually after 14 weeks, we test again, and see where they're at. Sometimes we need to do another type of therapy that's four weeks long or we give them a specialized app. But no, in general, most people don't need hearing aids, and if they do and they are at my practice I am referring them out to an audiologist that does sell hearing aids. That's not what we do here. But auditory processing usually happens in people who do not have hearing loss. They have normal hearing. So it's a really big misconception, you know, if they go into the audiologist and the audiologist says, no, your hearing's fine, and then they walk away confused because they feel like they've struggled. So the audiologists aren't doing a great job, I would say, of educating the public on auditory processing disorders and really they should be going to see somebody specialized, like me in (auditory) processing, so that they could decide if they do have an auditory processing disorder and know that it's treatable and that we can help tremendously.

Speaker 2: 5:17

Very interesting. I didn't know a lot of that. How many people does this typically affect on average?

Speaker 3: 5:25

Well, as far as school-age children, they estimate about two to seven percent of school-age children actually have an auditory processing disorder. You know, they're typically the kids that are really struggling at school and so many of them aren't getting flagged for this. Instead, they go to speech therapy because maybe they're not saying the sounds properly. But really, if you cannot hear the sounds properly, you're probably not going to say them well either. They're the kids that are, you know, not able to spell words because instead of the word "dad" they heard the word "bad" or "bed" or something else. So these are the kids that are having really big struggles like that. As far as adults, you know, especially with concussions, they're seeing a lot more auditory processing disorder in that group and that group can also be helped just as much as the younger kids. So those are the people that are like struggling with listening to their spouses or listening in noise, just can't keep up with conversations at restaurants, places like that. And one of my most interesting cases, I'll share if you don't mind, is I had a pilot who was a pilot on an airplane. He was just in a two-seater with one other person. He was actually the flight instructor and then something happened with the engine and it crashed and he survived. Part of the windshield went through his skull and he ended up surviving but with a very, very significant auditory processing disorder. When he came to me, he couldn't hear any sounds. He could hear them, but they all sounded like the word "love" actually. And as we worked together, over the course of a few months he got to the point where he was able to conduct full conversations without any closed captioning. We could add on noise in the background and he could have a full conversation. And so it's just what amazing how the brain can recover, the neuroplasticity of the brain, and what we can do with therapy.

Speaker 2: 7:28

So it's a lot of it's just retraining the brain and kind of you know, growing.

Speaker 3: 7:33


Speaker 2: 7:35

So we've all been through some types of hardships or challenges along our journey. Is there something that maybe happened along your journey that you can look back now and say you know I'm better because I went through that?

Speaker 3: 7:48

Yeah, I mean, I think a big part of what I do now is because of my son. My son was born a little bit early but as he developed we realized that he was autistic and a lot of overlap with auditory processing is with autism. A lot of people that are autistic have difficulties with listening in a lot of noise, or listening to noise. The noise really affects the processing sometimes and also tonal processing with understanding joke telling and kind of pragmatics, and so I think that that's helped me understand a lot about the population. Although everyone who is autistic is an individual and they're all very different, I do work with a lot of autistic kids and people in my practice and you know we can still support them and help in a lot of ways. So they're not struggling so much to keep up with conversations and so noise isn't affecting them so much. They don't have to run out of the room if there's a fire alarm or something that goes off. So I think that's part of where my passion comes from and understanding and speaking to other parents and supporting them and advocating for them.

Speaker 2: 9:02

And it makes a difference when you're personally going through it. You can share your stories, and where you've come, and where you've gotten to. Are there, you know. Are there other stories similar to that that you can share with us?

Speaker 3: 9:17

I mean, every day I have stories that come in here. We see a lot of kids with dyslexia and you know some of the biggest dyslexia cases, you know they come to me without being able to read anything. They can't even identify a letter on the page and by the time they leave, sometimes they're even more advanced than their peers. We catch them up and we go plus and these changes happen very, very quickly. Like I said, typically we do 14 weeks and then we reassess and very often we do not have to see them again. We get to dismiss them and the schools are happier, parents are happy, the kids are happier. They tend to just get a calm over them. I do want to talk about something about ADHD, if you don't mind. The ADHD is split into two categories. There's an impulsivity category and an inattention category, and one of the tests that we do here at my practice is an Auditory Continuous Performance Test. This is an abbreviated in ACPT. It's a 10-minute task where we can see how long they're able to maintain auditory attention and whether they're accidentally doing more impulsive responses or inattentive responses. So they have to actually raise their hand every time they hear the word "dog" and there are lots of words throughout this test. If they don't respond enough to the word dog, then that's considered an inattentive behavior. But if they respond to other words that are not the word "dog" and keep raising their hand more often, that's considered more impulsive. And the interesting thing about the Buffalo Model Therapy that I do here, which is the 14-week program, and after that, even though they had significant results in inattention, after we retest them after 14 weeks, that's become in the normal range for so many of my patients. So right now we're in the middle of writing a research paper on this and what I believe is that a lot of inattention types of ADHD are actually what we're seeing are processing delays and so they're not able to keep up and they are kind of sitting there lost. So we don't see much of an improvement with the impulsive behaviors, but as far as the inattention, if there's somebody listening out there who knows somebody that this might ring a bell to them, that it's more an inattentive type, I would get their auditory processing checked because it very well could be APD instead.

Speaker 2: 11:53

Interesting study and connection there. So is there something else that maybe our listeners should know about, ListenHEAR, that maybe they don't know?

Speaker 3: 12:03

Well, one of the biggest things is that we can evaluate and do therapy online, and so we are actually licensed in many, many states Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Alaska and we're about to be licensed in about four other states as well, pretty soon, within the next month. So if you have a child, a grandchild, a partner, a friend that might listen in one of those states and want to send this podcast to, this might help them also, because we can do (evaluations) and treatment and do therapy through Zoom. So it's really amazing.

Speaker 2: 12:43

Interesting, yes, and awareness is the big key. People don't know their options until they become aware of them.

Speaker 2: 12:49

Exactly, so how would our listeners go about getting a hold of you if they have come across somebody, maybe their child or friend or anybody you mentioned?

Speaker 3: 12:58

Yeah, so I have a phone number. My number you can call is 239-273-2942. We have a website, You can also email me at I conduct TikToks and I have a Facebook group. All can be found at @Listenhear_apd or @Listenhear.apd. So, yeah, that's some ways to learn more about auditory processing disorder.

Speaker 2: 13:42

Absolutely. Well. It's been a pleasure getting to know you and understand this a little bit more. Are there any last words for our listeners?

Speaker 3: 13:49

No, I just really thank you for helping educate the public on something that's not well-known.

Speaker 2: 13:54

Absolutely! Like I said, it's about awareness, and if we can help get the word out, then that's what we're trying to do. Thank, you for coming by today and we'll see you in the neighborhood soon.

Speaker 3: 14:05

Thank you so much. Have a good day."

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