Child Health
20 March 2016

Noise Impacts Children Much More Than Adults


Premature babies are at a higher risk as they are exposed to white noise of an incubator at an early stage in life, unlike full-term babies who develop the ability to listen to voices in themother’s womb and therefore, are more accustomed to hearing voices.Dr. Amir Lahav of Harvard Medical School adds saying that exposure to noise and sounds very early in life will spill over to affect how the brain is going to function. Noise has an implication in various places and even the classroom design must be taken into consideration. Factors such as the type of flooring, ceiling height also matter.


Background Noise: An Obstacle

Research suggests that noise is more distracting to a child’s brain than an adult’s brain. Background noise is an obstacle to a child’s learning ability.In an experiment conducted to determine if children could recognize a person’s speech despite multiple talkers, the youngest kids were able to decipher words only at relatively soft noise levels.


Noise Processing Between Children And Adults

It is believed that the ability to decipher and process speech against competing background noise among humans doesn’t develop until adolescence. Even simple noises such as a car horn or a cough can drown out a part of a word or sentence. While an adult’s experienced brain can substitute it with a logical choice, this doesn’t happen in a young child’s brain.


Tips To Reduce Noise

TV, Radio and other electronics must be turned off;Although its unclear if soft music is distracting, lyrics may pose distractions;When in a noisy room, make eye contact with your tot as s/he can pick up on mouth movements;Try using simple words in a noisy environment;Ensure that your child’s school behavior problem isn’t related to the fact that s/he is not able to hear in class.



Dr. Nahush Ghate
(Child Specialist)


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