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What Is Auditory Dyslexia?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Auditory dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by difficulty differentiating and expressing sounds. People with this condition may have trouble understanding oral communication and have trouble spelling and sounding out words they do not recognize. Therapies are available to help people address the symptoms of auditory dyslexia and develop coping skills. These can include phonics-focused teaching, tutoring, and measures like changing seats in a class to be able to more clearly understand directions from a teacher.

Also known as dysphonetic dyslexia, this condition can be diagnosed at any age, but is often identified early in childhood. Children with this condition may interrupt people while speaking, ask people to repeat themselves, and demonstrate lack of comprehension when direction and instruction are provided orally. Some screening may be necessary to determine the nature of the auditory problem. Sometimes an ear infection causes the issue, and other children may have an auditory processing disorder or a separate learning disability related to hearing and speech processing.

Auditory dyslexia can be caused by a physical issue in the ear, or a disorder of the auditory pathways in the brain.
Auditory dyslexia can be caused by a physical issue in the ear, or a disorder of the auditory pathways in the brain.

When people with auditory dyslexia learn to read, they cannot rely on the trick of sounding out words they do not recognize. They have trouble associating specific letters or character clusters with particular sounds, and may skip over words they don't know. Likewise, in spelling lessons, they learn by memorizing, rather than developing auditory skills that allow them to spell new words. As other students learn to associate particular letters and groups with sounds, an auditory dyslexic can start to fall behind the class.

A person with auditory dyslexia can use cues to figure out what a person is saying, rather than completely relying on spoken communication.
A person with auditory dyslexia can use cues to figure out what a person is saying, rather than completely relying on spoken communication.

Jumbled sounds can also contribute to inarticulate speech. People with auditory dyslexia may have difficulty with enunciation and understanding the difference between similar words. Speech-language therapy can help them develop listening and speaking skills. Like people who are deaf and hard of hearing, some people with this condition can use cues to figure out what someone is saying, rather than relying wholly on spoken communication. This can help them keep pace in busy or complex conversations.

After an auditory dyslexia diagnosis, it can help to meet with a specialist for an evaluation. Several hours may be required to collect as much information as possible on the patient's case. This can determine the nature of the disability, and may lead to some recommendations. People with this condition may need workplace or school accommodations to perform tasks safely and comfortably. They can also work with therapists and mentors to develop coping skills, tips, and tricks that will help them navigate environments where they need auditory skills.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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    • Auditory dyslexia can be caused by a physical issue in the ear, or a disorder of the auditory pathways in the brain.
      By: Alila Medical Media
      Auditory dyslexia can be caused by a physical issue in the ear, or a disorder of the auditory pathways in the brain.
    • A person with auditory dyslexia can use cues to figure out what a person is saying, rather than completely relying on spoken communication.
      By: Odua Images
      A person with auditory dyslexia can use cues to figure out what a person is saying, rather than completely relying on spoken communication.