How Background Noise Affects Your Child
As adults, we hear background noise all day. It’s not unusual to hear the constant buzz of our co-workers chatting, or the TV or radio blaring from another room. Most of us have learned to tune this noise out and we go through our lives without even hearing it. But noise pollution has become a buzzword in today’s hectic society, and the truth is that it may be impacting the central auditory processing of young children who are still acquiring language skills.
A recent study published by Ear and Hearing, The Official Journal of the American Auditory Society, and conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc., suggests multiple effects of background noise on toddlers. It states that background noise “modulates the early stages of sound encoding and dampens neural discrimination vital for accurate speech perception.” What this means is that toddlers who spend long hours in noisy conditions may have more trouble pronouncing words correctly.
The test was conducted on 18 toddlers between the ages of 22 and 26 months, all monolingual and with healthy ears. Perhaps not surprisingly, the children exposed to the noisy conditions were more likely to mispronounce words and syllables.
The study suggests that parents pay close attention to acoustic conditions and background noise levels in children’s daily environments. Be aware of the volume of TVs or radios in the other room when your toddler is present, and encourage your child to have quiet time every day. In today’s modern society, silence can be difficult to achieve, but a little less noise in your child’s every day life may be just what the doctor ordered.