There is no doubt about it, being successful in life depends on being able to hear and then to process what you hear into meaningful information. We live in an auditory world where the spoken language gives us access to the information we need to communicate, to learn and to interact with the world around us. When that access is impeded by an auditory processing disorder (an APD) or hearing loss, our ability to function effectively in our “noisy world” is significantly impacted, often excluding us from all the joys and wonder around us. This is especially true of young learners.
If you have a child who has had a “normal” hearing evaluation but who seems unusually inattentive, has difficulty following multi-step directions and is otherwise struggling to keep up in school, you may need the professional help and services of audiologist Dr. Sara Carnevale Fearon. Dr. Fearon, who is a 2007 doctoral graduate of the University of Louisville, is one of only two Board Certified Audiologists practicing in the entire state. After spending the last eight years at an Ear, Nose & Throat practice in Providence, Dr. Fearon has now opened her own practice, Rhode Island APD & Hearing Solutions in Cranston.
Dr. Fearon describes an Auditory Processing Disorders as a problem with the way the brain processes or interprets what it hears. She clarifies that APD’s are not equated with hearing deficits, in fact, those who grapple with APD’s characteristically have “normal” hearing and cognition. This disorder refers to how one’s central nervous system uses auditory information and how the brain is able to filter out background noise. This is especially relevant for school-age children who must be able to differentiate useful information from the typical auditory distractions of a classroom. APD’s significantly affect memory, attention and language development. Students will fall further behind the longer an APD is left undiagnosed and untreated.
Dr. Fearon, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all hearing and auditory-related problems, has a unique niche with the population of school-aged children. In her private office, she has a sound booth where clients can be assessed for normal hearing and for an APD. Parents are invited to watch as their children are administered a battery of non-invasive tests, and are then included in a comprehensive report where treatment options are outlined. Any delay in detecting and treating APD’s can have an accumulating affect. , Dr. Fearon urges parents and other caregivers who notice these symptoms, to include this important evaluation in their efforts to help their child meet his or her full potential.
To schedule an appointment for hearing assessment or the treatment options for APD’s, call the office of Dr. Sara Fearon at 401-585-5439. RI APD & Hearing Solutions is located on 989 Reservoir Avenue in Cranston. Visit them at www.riapd.com.