I Can’t Hear Myself Think! Noise and the Developing Brain from Infancy to Adulthood

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marshall Ballroom South (Marriott Wardman Park)
Noise has a substantial public health impact, from sleep disturbance and stress to decreased educational and academic performance. Noise exposure starts incredibly early in life: from machines in newborn nurseries, to cellphones and television in the home, to the cacophony of voices in childcare settings. While the ubiquitous presence of noise poses a challenge to listeners of all ages, the developing child is at a particular disadvantage for untangling a first language in noisy environments. Mounting data indicate that the ability to process speech in the presence of competing background noise remains immature into adolescence and hinders language development. Increasing noise exposure worldwide, as technology and everyday social demands evolve, demands a better understanding of the effects of such noise on the developing child in the modern world. This symposium discusses the impact of noise on child development, with a focus on sounds more likely to foster learning than to hinder it. The panelists examine impacts of hospital noise on brain development of vulnerable pre-term infants; the impacts of hearing and learning in noisy environments; and the impact of noise on children’s language acquisition. The session concludes that excessive exposure to noise early in life has implications for numerous areas of public concern, ranging across the medical, educational, and social contexts of children’s developmental experiences; several solutions are proposed.
Nan Bernstein Ratner, University of Maryland, College Park
Nan Bernstein Ratner, University of Maryland, College Park
Lori Leibold, Boys Town National Research Hospital
Learning to Hear: Understanding Speech in Noise from Infancy to Adolescence
Rochelle Newman, University of Maryland, College Park
Finding the Words in the Blooming, Buzzing Confusion: Noise Impacts on Toddlers
See more of: Anthropology, Culture, and Language
See more of: Symposia