New study suggests early testing for APD can help Long COVID patients with “brain fog” symptoms
According to a recent study, researchers saw a correlation between Long COVID “brain fog” symptoms and auditory processing disorder (APD)—believed to be an underdiagnosed neurological disorder. The study originated from the Auditory Processing Institute of Queensland, Australia, and was published in The Hearing Journal on April 5. Authored by audiologists Robert DiSogra, AuD, Audiology consultant in Millstone, New Jersey, and Angela Loucks Alexander, AuD, Director of the Auditory Processing Institute, gave a TEDx Talk that generated more than one million views, explaining that the study found that patients can be treated effectively with existing interventions. Unfortunately, APD symptoms can easily be confused with other hearing or neurological issues, the experts say.
Studies say that APD occurs when a patient’s brain has trouble understanding what they hear into usable information, making it difficult to understand and communicate with others. Untreated patients can quickly suffer serious consequences, including an inability to connect with others, strained relationships, poor job performance, and depression.
“We’ve seen an uptick in patients whose symptoms started after a COVID-19 diagnosis, but testing for an auditory processing disorder is rarely recommended,” shared Loucks Alexander. “As a result of this study, we can confidently tell people with ‘brain fog’ symptoms to get tested for APD. Early testing is a simple step that would have saved many of our patients a lot of distress and provided them with treatment much sooner.”
The study mentions that because “brain fog” symptoms may be caused by a wide variety of neurological and other medical conditions, APD patients may experience trouble understanding people when there is background noise, often find that they need information repeated multiple times, and might have trouble remembering what was said to them.
“This is the first end-to-end scientific case study of its kind evaluating a patient’s diagnosis and progress—providing a road map from diagnosis to recovery,” shared DiSogra. “It tells us that existing treatments can have excellent results for patients who are experiencing APD symptoms after COVID-19. We hope to see more research as a result of this study.”
To read the full study, visit The Hearing Journal website.