Dyslexia may make it tough to tune out noise
Students with developmental dyslexia may not be able to focus on the teacher's voice in noisy school settings that include banging lockers, scraping chairs and other auditory distractions.
The ability to sharpen or fine-tune repeating elements is crucial to hearing speech in noise because it allows for superior tagging of voice pitch, an important cue in picking out a particular voice within background noise. But dyslexic children may have difficulty in focusing on the speech in a noisy environment.
Developmental dyslexia affects reading and spelling skills in 5 to 10 percent of school-age children.
Previous research has found that children with developmental dyslexia have difficulty separating relevant auditory information from competing noise. To confirm the findings, researchers examined the encoding of speech in children with or without developmental dyslexia by measuring auditory brainstem responses to a speech presented in a repetitive or variable context.
It was found that the brains of non-dyslexic children could ignore distractions and automatically focus on relevant, predictable and repeating auditory information. Dyslexic children didn't have this ability. The study gives biological evidence that children who have difficulty hearing speech in noisy settings also have a measurable neural impairment that hampers their ability to utilise regularities in the sound environment.
The researchers suggested that along with conventional reading- and spelling-based interventions, children with developmental dyslexia might benefit from simple approaches such as placing them in front of the teacher or using wireless technologies to enhance the sound of a teacher's voice.
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