Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Noisy classroom simulation aids comprehension in hearing-impaired children

Date:
February 11, 2013
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
Training the brain to filter out background noise and thus understand spoken words could help the academic performance and quality of life for children who struggle to hear, but there's been little evidence that such noise training works in youngsters. A new report showed about a 50 percent increase in speech comprehension in background noise when children with hearing impairments followed a three-week auditory training regimen.

Children with hearing loss struggle to hear in noisy school classrooms, even with the help of hearing aids and other devices to amplify their teacher's voice. Training the brain to filter out background noise and thus understand spoken words could help the academic performance and quality of life for children who struggle to hear, but there's been little evidence that such noise training works in youngsters.

Related Articles


A new report showed about a 50 percent increase in speech comprehension in background noise when children with hearing impairments followed a three-week auditory training regimen. The effect was still evident when the children were tested three months after the training ended.

The findings are among the first to demonstrate that auditory training with noise can work in children. Other studies show that similar regimens help hearing-impaired adults.

The training involves repeated exposure to speech masked by noise, and is intended to teach the brain how to receive information and process it more efficiently. This could help hearing-impaired children who struggle to keep up in noisy classrooms.

"It's not a fair playing field with their normal-hearing peers," said Jessica Sullivan, lead author and a University of Washington assistant professor of speech and hearing sciences. "They have the best technology, but it's not enough -- they still miss things."

People with normal hearing usually filter out background noise seamlessly. If a loud truck rumbles by, they can still understand a conversation because their brains work quickly to fill in sounds that they might have missed.

But people with hearing loss take in sound more slowly, and brain regions that process hearing aren't as adept at filling in muffled information.

In Sullivan's study, published in the January issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, hearing-impaired youngsters ages 6 to 17 attended seven one-hour sessions spread across three weeks. They listened to a series of sentences, such as "We saw two brown bears" or "Grandmother gave Bob red beans," masked by staticky background noise intended to simulate a clattering classroom scene.

During the sessions, Sullivan gradually made the regimen more demanding by ratcheting up the number of words in the sentences, the noise volume and the time between hearing the sentence and identifying what words were said. The children had to give correct answers 80 percent of the time before advancing to the next level of difficulty.

Three months after the training, the participants still showed improvements in word recognition over the noise.

Sullivan also found that auditory training with a crackling noise -- called "interrupted" because white noise was interspersed with fleeting five- to 95-millisecond silences -- increased hearing comprehension more than using continuous white noise. Children in the interrupted noise group showed about a 50 percent increase in speech intelligibility compared with their hearing at the beginning of the experiment.

"The maintenance of the improvement is a truly significant finding," Sullivan said. "It indicates that new hearing and listening strategies have been developed to detect speech despite noise."

The next step in the research is to see how the regimen works for other people, such as adults and cochlear-implant users, and to other types of noise, including real-world settings.

Co-authors are Linda Thibodeau and Peter Assmann of the University of Texas at Dallas, where the study was conducted. The study was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Molly McElroy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica R. Sullivan, Linda M. Thibodeau, Peter F. Assmann. Auditory training of speech recognition with interrupted and continuous noise maskers by children with hearing impairment. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 2013; 133 (1): 495 DOI: 10.1121/1.4770247

Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Noisy classroom simulation aids comprehension in hearing-impaired children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211135007.htm>.
University of Washington. (2013, February 11). Noisy classroom simulation aids comprehension in hearing-impaired children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211135007.htm
University of Washington. "Noisy classroom simulation aids comprehension in hearing-impaired children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211135007.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins