The Biology of Auditory Processing and Memory Problems

By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP

“My son has an auditory processing problem.  He had a lot of ear infections and bronchitis when he was younger. Is there a connection?”

“My daughter has been diagnosed with a short term memory problem. What can I do about this at home?”

The Most Common Processing Problem

As I cross the country, speaking at homeschool conventions, many moms come to my booth asking these questions.  Of all the four learning gates that can be blocked, making learning more difficult for a child or teenager, a blocked auditory gate presents the most challenges. It affects not only learning, but life in general.

In the article, “Auditory Processing Problems,” we explored the symptoms of an Auditory Processing Problem and the two methods I have used in my teaching career and in my consultation practice to aid children and teenagers with this blocked learning gate:

  1. Bypassing the blocked learning gate; and
  2. Correcting the blocked learning gate.

In this article we will discuss nutritional approaches which aid kids, teenagers and adults with auditory processing problems.

Common Physical  Conditions  in Auditory Processing Problems

When searching for “corrections” for an Auditory Processing and Memory Issue, I have found targeted nutritional interventions to be extremely helpful.  As a nutritionist, I found that, just as there is a “Chemistry of Dyslexia,” there are some very common biological issues that children or adults with Auditory Processing Problems share.  In my experience, when those biological areas are addressed, hearing, remembering, and processing auditory information can be vastly improved. (I have personally worked with 3,000 families in my consultation practice).

I’m hoping to put more “tools in your pocket” as you work with your child. While working with families of bright, hard working children and teenagers who have to work too hard to learn, I have found the following common conditions:

  1. Yeast/Fungus Overgrowth.  When this seemingly benign state exists in the body, it can create internal stress for the child.  One of the symptoms that kids report is that they have “noise in their head…like a static,” that makes it hard for them to concentrate on their own “thinking” voice, and the voices of others.  They frequently report that they have difficulty hearing when background noise is present.   After the yeast/fungus is brought under control, they report that it seems that their own thoughts and the sounds they hear are “clearer.” (William Crook, MD, Help for Your Hyperactive Child;  Leo Galland, MD, Superimmunity for Kids; Natasha-Campbell McBride, The Gut and Psychology Syndrome; Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP, “The Biology of Behavior” article and CD set).
  2. Dairy Allergy.  In her clinic in Texas and in her book,  No More Ritalin Mary Ann Block, DO,  observed that dairy tended to cause mucus and fluid to build up in the child’s middle ear, leading not only to repeated bacterial infections, but to a sensation that older children reported as “hearing under water.”  Dr. William Crook, pediatrician, in “Food Allergy-the Great Masquerader,” (Pediatric Clinics of North America, February, 1975), found that not only children with  auditory processing and hearing issues, but also children who appear tired and sluggish, hyperactive or irritable, did well when given a six week dairy-free trial, or a blood test for food allergies or sensitivities.  He and Dr. Dan Baggett, a pediatrician from Alabama, found dairy allergies to be particularly the evident in children with eczema and asthma symptoms, dark circles under the eyes or late bed wetting.  (for more symptoms of dairy allergy, read “Hidden Allergies and Learning” article by Dianne Craft on her website).
  3. Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency. The good “brain fats” found in fish oil and evening primrose oil have proven to be powerful electron carriers that improve auditory processing function.  In her book, The LCP Solution, Dr. Jacqueline Stordy gives her research results using the protocol amounts of fatty acids for children with Dyslexia.
  4. Multiple Ear Infections. At times the “cilia” of the ear can become compromised with frequent ear infections. This cilia responds well to EFAs.  (Dr. Lendon Smith, pediatrician, Feed Your Body Right).
  5. Inefficient Connections between the Left and Right Hemispheres.  For various reasons, the connections between the auditory and visual hemispheres are not as strong as they should be. Midline therapy (outlined in last month’s article) helps a great deal to restore integrity to these important connections.


Some  Common  Interventions

  1. Natural Anti-Fungal Supplements. Parents frequently find that by replacing the good “flora” three times a day, and using a natural anti-fungal supplement, their child seems more “connected” auditorally.  Parents find that they do not have to repeat instructions as much.  Often the child seems to remember sounds of phoneme better.
  2. Dairy-free Trial. If your child seems to do better with the first step, but still has some auditory issues, then a six week dairy-free trial is often a good next step to take.
  3. Enzymes.  If your child does better during the dairy-free trial, then it may be beneficial to add particular enzymes that are designed to help the child’s body ability to utilize the offending dairy products, after a while.
  4. Essential Fatty Acids. For a child with speech delay, gaze aversion, ear infections when younger or auditory processing problems, a daily dose of flavored cod liver oil is very beneficial.
  5. Lecithin. This “mother of all fats” actually converts to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is called the “auditory memory neurotransmitter.”  MIT studies have found this supplement to be extremely helpful for balance, speech and auditory processing function.
  6. Midline Brain Therapy designed to increase communication between left and right brain hemispheres is often very beneficial and easy to do at home.

For more detailed information about these interventions, read the The Biology of Auditory Processing and Memory Handout on this website.

The information in this article should not be construed as a diagnosis or medical advice. Please consult your physician for any medical condition and before adding supplements or changing a child’s diet.

Dianne Craft has a Master’s Degree in special education and is a Certified Natural Health Professional. She has a private consultation practice, Child Diagnostics, Inc., in Littleton, Colorado.


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