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Noise may affect children's language development
Detail: Research at Purdue University's Infant Language Laboratory found that even moderate background noise can affect how infants learn language. Sound from the television or of other children playing can pose the same problem for children that older adults with hearing loss encounter at a cocktail party.

And when it's noisy, infants use what they see to interpret sound better, said George Hollich, director of Purdue University's Infant Language Laboratory, who co-authored an article published in the May/June issue in the journal "Child Development."

Hollich's studies, conducted in 2002 at Johns Hopkins University, where he worked previously, analyzed how environmental noises affect 7-month-olds.
Seeing facial movements while hearing a person speak can help a child concentrate on the words themselves.He found that babies respond better to a word if they have just heard and seen it pronounced on a video than if they hear it without seeing corresponding lip movements -- even when there was noise in the background.

"There are a few correlations that show the noisier the household, the poorer the child's speech, but it isn't clear because that's so often confused with socioeconomic status," Hollich said. "It's not clear if it was the noise that was the problem or something else."

Author of news item: Sydney Schwartz
Source of news item: South Bend Tribune (see web address below)

Source of research study referred to as recently published:
Child Development:Volume 76 Issue 3 Page 598 - May 2005

Date: July 19 2005