Study shows white noise can help with cognitive difficulties.
Research has shown that children with attention difficulties, primarily those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are able to maintain their dopamine levels properly and stay focused when they can keep their hands busy. or listen to background noise that allows them to do so. . In other words, engaging in a “background” activity allows those with attention problems to focus on the “foreground” task or conversation at hand. Now, a new study has shown that people with ADHD may have improved their cognitive functioning when there is white noise. The study, from Norway, found that children with attention difficulties cope better with cognitive tasks when exposed to auditory noise. Cognitive skills include tasks such as memory, reading and wordless decoding.
“The white noise that we have exposed children to, also known as visual pixel noise, can be compared to giving glasses to children. The effect on reading and memory was immediate, ”explained Göran Söderlund, lecturer in education at Gothenburg University and professor of special education at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Norway.
About 80 students from the Småland region of Sweden who applied to participate in the research. These children were selected after passing a word recognition test and were divided into three groups: good readers, those with difficulty and those with significant difficulties, including phonological impairments.
“The children were asked to read a dozen words while being exposed to four different levels of visual white noise (from zero to high),” the team said in its report. The test assessed how many words children could read correctly and how many words they were able to remember after the exam.
Overall, the results showed that the group with the highest level of reading difficulty, especially phonological difficulties, performed better when exposed to visual pixel noise. They read more words correctly and were also “able to remember words in conditions of moderate noise.” White noise had no or negative effects on good readers and those with only minor reading problems, ”the team reported.
“This is the first evidence that visual white noise has higher-level effects on cognition, in this case on both reading and memory,” Söderlund said. And he noted that there was a level of white noise which was the most optimal. Söderlund explained, “We found that when we exposed children to an average level of white noise, their reading improved. However, their reading skills were worse when there was no noise or a high noise level. These results show that children with reading and writing difficulties can be helped with an incredibly simple intervention. By adjusting the screens at school or at home, we hope that we can solve their problems in one fell swoop.
He noted that there need to be more studies that build on the team’s findings to determine the significance and hopes, himself, to do more research.
“It’s worth exploring, because we just don’t know it,” Söderlund suggested. “This first study of ours is fundamental research. But our results show that the children improved immediately, so it is important to pursue further studies to determine if this simple measure, which anyone can do on their own laptop, will actually provide lasting help to these children.
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