According to a 2018 study from Finland, children who wear cochlear implants may be able to clarify their hearing abilities, especially in noisy surroundings.
An analysis of “speech-in-noise” abilities in children who had cochlear implants was conducted. For over a year, two different groups of children (aged 4 to 13) who wore cochlear implants were tested on how well they were able to comprehend speech under noisy circumstances. A study was conducted for a controlled group of children who had normal hearing.
The children were categorized into groups which depended on their daily singing routines. The researchers followed up on accounts of informal singing, which included singing along with songs from movies, nursery rhymes, YouTube, or the radio.
During the tests, the subjects were asked to point at images that depicted the words and phrases that they heard through a loudspeaker over a consistent stream of background noise. The children who had normal hearing displayed an improved understanding of speech than those who had cochlear implants. Each group showed improvement during the second round of testing. The children who sang and had cochlear implants performed better, and also had better concentration abilities than children who did not sing. They were also better at catching on to rhythms in songs, which imply that they were better at comprehending speech patterns.
Difficulties of background noises
The team from Finland discovered that children with cochlear implants, who frequently sang, had parents who sang to them early in their life. Parents typically sing facing their children, which allows the children to see lip and mouth movements. Children who wear cochlear implants use the visual cues of lip reading. According to their study, singing to these children may provide similar advantages.
Users of cochlear implants have difficulty deciphering speech in loud environments. This is due to the fact that the implants cannot support the audio range needed in order to hear noises that occur simultaneously.
This makes situations more challenging for implant users who are very young, because background noise is a part of everyday life in daycare, schools, and homes.
The inability to hear can lead to problems with hearing conversations, or hearing speech aimed at children (especially instructions from teachers or parents) can undermine how they learn.
Children are unable to fully comprehend speech noise until they reach the ages between 11 and 15. The loss of education and interaction could have lasting damage of confidence in addition to their relationships with others.
Background noises could also make it difficult to hear sounds of vehicles or people approaching, which can lead to potentially dangerous situations.
What is the Connection between Music and Speech?
The study shows that playing or singing music may help enhance a person’s vocal pitch and intensity, along with their speech rhythms. Singing has the ability to reinforce the link between speech and hearing. Because songs have a small amount of words, and lots of repetition, those who are listening have a longer amount of time to process what they’re hearing.
Clear and regular rhythms, slow tempos, singing alone, face-to-face singing with parents, a lot of repetition, and finding some enjoyment in singing are all elements that help bolster the link between music and speech.
To no surprise, musicians have been shown to have better speech and hearing perceptions than those who are not musicians. A small study conducted on adults who have hearing loss showed that it supported brain stem response in sound processing.
Music is Important for all Children
The results indicated that singing and music are valuable for children who suffer from hearing conditions. Schools, day cares, and families should incorporate music into a child’s education and every day learning situations. This especially rings true for children who wear cochlear implants or have difficulties with hearing.
Regardless of age, hearing loss can affect your life and health. If you, or a loved one, have concerns about hearing loss, contact one of our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.