Auditory Learning Difficulty

The student with an auditory memory deficit or an auditory processing disorder is one who cannot correctly remember sequences of sounds. This problem greatly hampers reading, spelling and general behavior in the home and classroom. For instance, a student who cannot remember correct sound sequences, cannot remember which speech sounds correspond to printed, coded words.

In reading, we are actually seeing a coded form of a word and making a speech sound from the code. Thus, the terms “reading” and “decoding” are used interchangeably in the field of education.

Without speech memory of words intact, a student will have difficulty decoding new words. Trying to match sounds with symbols becomes frustrating and confusing. A student with this deficit will have trouble taking notes in the classroom, because he cannot remember the sequence of the lecture long enough to take notes on paper. Sequence of directions and commands are also troublesome. When the student is given several things to do, he simply forgets the list. The parent usually labels this behavior as being non-motivational in nature and so the true source of the problem is seldom addressed. The frustrated student is surrounded by a myriad of continual problems and unless intervention and correction occur the sense of failure increases.


Noise Doesn’t like background noise when trying to focus on something else. Difficulty working in groups because too many kids are talking. Difficulty paying attention if there is noise in the background
Books / Reading Won’t read out loud Dreads reading and sounding out unfamiliar words in front of classmates. Struggles to understand how different sounds work together to form words.
Forgetfulness Doesn’t remember people’s names Can’t remember basic math facts and may forget instructions. Finds it difficult to recall information they’ve heard.
Conversation Has trouble expressing emotions Difficulty answering questions and discussing ideas. Struggles with oral communication.



Reading Won’t read the books that other kids his age enjoy Weak reading comprehension Struggles to develop reading skills. They are working so hard to decode the words that they don’t understand the text.
Directions Only completes half of the chores assigned if at all. When the teacher gives instructions the student cannot remember long enough to execute the task. Difficulty following multi-step directions especially in a noisy setting.
Conversation Doesn’t understand riddles and sometimes seems lost in conversations Needs a lot of repetition in order to learn new concepts Struggles with tasks that require higher-level listening skills.



Hearing Often asks “what” even in quiet spaces Speaks louder than peers and doesn’t realize it It is difficult to filter out background noise and to hear subtle differences in sounds
Communication Conversation is vague and disjointed Has difficulty finding the right words and organizing thoughts Weak vocabulary and difficulty with self-expression
Inference Doesn’t get jokes or other things that should be obvious Struggles to grasp abstract concepts Difficulty understanding nonliteral language and drawing inferences
Forgetfulness Can’t remember lists or tasks Can’t remember the steps to complete classwork Struggles to remember information they’ve heard, such as lists or tasks that involve multiple items or steps.

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