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    The impact of in-home noise on cognitive development

    Chere, Brittney (2022) The impact of in-home noise on cognitive development. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    While environmental noise is known to cause physiological auditory harm, little is known about the non-auditory effects derived from exposure to everyday noise. In particular, there is very little known about the risk of noise exposure on cognitive development. Two streams of research have begun to address this, one focused on community level noise exposure in the classroom and one on the effect of controlled distractors in lab-based experiments. This thesis directly sought to bridge this gap and extend this work to the home environment. The study in Chapter 2 measured how experience with noise, derived from direct recordings of in-home noise levels, and naturalistic recordings of background noise interacted and affected the selective attention of 10-to-12-month-old infants. The eye-tracking experiment revealed that constant and dynamic background noise led to significantly slower saccadic latencies compared to the condition with unpredictable and intermittent background noise. While infants from quieter homes showed this same trend, infants from noisier homes were not affected by the background noise. Chapter 3 included a study with the same sample of infants, where higher average noise levels and more noise fluctuation in the main room of the home predicted infants having better auditory processing abilities. Higher noise fluctuation in the bedroom predicted infants spending more time awake at night. The average noise levels from both rooms were higher than the 45 dB indoor noise level recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meaning that general in-home noise levels place developing children at risk to the negative effects of noise. Chapter 4 revealed that parental stress affected the temperament and SP of 8- to- 18- month-old infants more so than in-home noise, household chaos, socioeconomic status, and the impact of the pandemic. Higher parental stress related to infants having lower effortful control, worse general processing ability, and less adaptive behavioural reactions to sensory stimuli. Lastly, Chapter 5 determined that while adolescents were not impacted by naturalistic background noise while performing online executive function tasks, their exposure to in-home noise did affect EF ability. Adolescents aged 15 to 18 were more efficient at the inhibitory control task than the 11-to-14-year-old adolescents, though when taking into account in-home noise levels, older adolescents from noisier homes lost this advantage. On this same task, younger adolescents from noisier homes needed significantly more time to respond accurately compared to their same-aged peers from quieter homes. Overall, it is clear that exposure to in-home noise affects the development of attention, sleep, sensory processing, and executive function.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2022 13:09
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:38


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