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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 36  |  Page : 64--74

Effects of irrelevant speech and traffic noise on speech perception and cognitive performance in elementary school children

1 Department of Psychology, University of Oldenburg, D - 26111 Oldenburg, Germany
2 Hörzentrum Oldenburg GmbH, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Maria Klatte
University of Oldenburg, Department of Psychology, D-26111 Oldenburg
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.36982

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The effects of background noise of moderate intensity on short-term storage and processing of verbal information were analyzed in 6 to 8 year old children. In line with adult studies on "irrelevant sound effect" (ISE), serial recall of visually presented digits was severely disrupted by background speech that the children did not understand. Train noises of equal Intensity however, had no effect. Similar results were demonstrated with tasks requiring storage and processing of heard information. Memory for nonwords, execution of oral instructions and categorizing speech sounds were significantly disrupted by irrelevant speech. The affected functions play a fundamental role in the acquisition of spoken and written language. Implications concerning current models of the ISE and the acoustic conditions in schools and kindergardens are discussed.


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