Auditory Dyslexia (Click Here to Listen to this Article)
Even though the first diagnosed case of dyslexia was discovered in 1896, many many people go their entire lives or a good portion thereof with learning disabilities that go undiagnosed as dyslexia. As much as 80% of all learning disabilities are really dyslexia. Reading and writing are not the only abilities that can be affected by dyslexia although many forms of the disorder are first manifested in those areas. Auditory (or dysphonetic) dyslexia is one of many subtypes of the learning disability that is probably not what most people think of when they think of dyslexia. We have all been told at one time or another by our parents, grandparents, significant others, or children that we “just don’t listen”. Well that may be a fairly innocuous truth for many of us, but for others, it is not that they are not listening, but that they have difficulty processing those words in their brains because of this disorder.
If you say the word dyslexia, many people think of backwards letters or words, or mixed up words in a sentence. They normally do not think of hearing words in a scrambled way, or taking more time than average to process those words. These are symptoms of auditory dyslexia. Another thing that auditory dyslexics may have an issue with is connecting sounds to the symbols that letters are. That would have the effect of the person having a hard time at sounding out words and real problems with phonics.
There are many symptoms of auditory dyslexia. If a person has these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean they will be diagnosed with auditory dyslexia, but if several of the symptoms are present, it is a good idea to get further evaluation by a team of professionals so that action can be taken to mediate the effects. Some of the symptoms to look for include tone deafness, poor spelling and sounding out words, not a good test taker, word mispronunciation, needing verbal instructions repeated over and over, and not being able to hear soft vowel sounds. It bears repeating that there are many possible causes to the symptoms above, and before assuming someone with one or more of these symptoms has auditory dyslexia, further evaluation should be undertaken.
Although auditory dyslexia is more difficult to re-mediate than visual dyslexia, several treatments have been developed for auditory dyslexia with varying success. There are software programs that attempt to help auditory dyslexics by using acoustically modified speech or using syntax and semantics. While these programs may help with auditory processing, they do not seem to improve reading or writing skills that are impaired in the dyslexic. Discussion of possible improvement programs should be discussed with professionals before committing a lot of time or money to a specific program.