Noisy and quiet environments impact speech recognition in those with mild dementia

Listening to spoken words in noisy environments is challenging for all. Acoustic studies show that people with mild dementia struggle to understand speech in both noisy and quiet environments which highlights the necessity for everyone to be able to communicate clearly.

In the 181st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, that will be held from November. 29-Dec. 3 Kate McClannahan, from Washington University School of Medicine, will discuss how background noise impacts spoken word recognition in people with mild dementia. The talk, “The Effect of mild dementia on speech perception in noisy and quiet,” will be held on Wednesday, December 1 at 11:50 Eastern U.S.A at the Hyatt Regency Seattle.

Seniors are often worried about difficulty understanding speech in background noise. Researchers looked into the effects of mild dementia on speech perception by performing a word recognition test in both quiet and noisy environments. They also tested those with mild dementia as well as those who are not.

The scientists found word identification scores of people with no dementia were significantly better regardless of the condition, which means those with mild dementia recalled fewer words in both quiet and noisy environments.

The silent condition showed that mild dementia sufferers were unable to comprehend 20% of words while the control group failed to comprehend five percent. These results show that mild dementia sufferers struggle to comprehend speech even when there is no background noise.

This study suggests that mild dementia patients may be unable to comprehend speech in quiet situations and also those who have difficulty with acoustics. Talking slowly and clearly, reducing background noise, distracting sounds, ensuring that the person listening can see the speaker’s face and providing ample context information may aid in improving a person’s speech comprehension.

Kate McClannahan, from Washington University School of Medicine

McClannahan said that taking these steps will help improve communication to all listeners.

“If you or your loved one are having difficulty communicating, it is a good idea to seek the help of an Audiologist.”

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Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering business news – specifically startups. She has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years.

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