Computer game helps Ryan listen and learn

Ryan Lombardo may never have been diagnosed with Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) had it not been for his Mum’s quick thinking.

Reading an article on auditory processing that a speech therapist gave her for her younger son, it suddenly dawned on Gail that the article was in fact better suited for another person in her family. I was reading it thinking, this isn’t my younger son Toby, this is Ryan, she says.

Classroom feedback

In 2014, Ryan regularly came home from his grade four class complaining to his Mum that his classroom was too noisy and he hated being there. Gail had also received feedback from Ryan’s teacher who told her that Ryan had trouble getting started on work. Ryan, who was an ‘A’ student while doing homework, quickly turned into a ‘C’ student in class.

By then, Gail was already highly familiar with Hearing Australia through Toby, who has two perforated eardrums. Gail promptly sent Ryan in for testing for CAPD.

“Once I read that article, it was black and white. A girl in grade one had complained of background noise, and I thought, ‘yes, that’s it, that’s what he’s got’, so I sent him in for testing and I already knew the answer”.

True to Gail’s instincts, the hearing test subsequently showed that Ryan’s spatial hearing was abnormally low.

Playing the game

Once diagnosed, Ryan began using the computer-based program LiSN and Learn (developed by Hearing Australia’s research division National Acoustic Laboratories), spending 10-15 minutes a day, five days a week for 10 weeks, on it during school breaks. Once completed (during his first week of school this year), Ryan went back in for another test which showed that his hearing levels are all now within normal range. 

“Everything is now just so much easier, he can hear everything and he’s far more confident”, says Gail.

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