Three-Week Auditory Training Regimen Aids Comprehension In Hearing-Impaired Children

Summarized by Katie Lutzker, staff writer

An elementary, middle or high school classroom can get incredibly noisy. Students talking over one another, side conversations, plus random, extra noises can be distracting from hearing the teacher, especially for children struggling with hearing loss. Even with the help of hearing aids and similar devices, background noise still is not being filtered out sufficiently. However, a new study run by University of Washington assistant professor of speech and hearing sciences Jessica Sullivan, shows an increase in speech understanding within all that background noise when children (ages 6-17) followed a three-week auditory training regimen.

People struggling with hearing loss are unable to take in sound as easily and quickly as people who do not struggle with hearing loss, so background noise can seriously affect a person with hearing loss’s concentration. The study consisted of seven one-hour sessions occurring over a three week period. The children listened to sentences that were surrounded by extraneous noises, intended to mimic the noisy classroom setting. Over the three weeks, children advanced onto higher levels as they began to process the sentences better. This marks one of the first findings showing how deliberate auditory training can help children with hearing loss filter out background noise and better comprehend others in noisy situations.

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