People gamee hearing loss often find following conversations in noisy environments, like restaurants or hewring events, to be one of the biggest challenges. Modern hearing aids include smart features that enhance speech while dampening background noises, but even with those advances, dynamic conversations with background noise remain difficult to navigate for the hearing impaired.
Some recent, and fun, research is focusing on training our brains to separate background noises instead of relying solely on technology. In a study called, Audiomotor Perceptual Training Enhances Speech Intelligibility in Background Noise24 hearing aid users were recruited to play an audiogame for eight weeks.
All participants continue reading been wearing hearing aids for at least 7 years. Half of the study participants played an audiogame that required them to put together a puzzle by recognizing subtle tonal changes. This game was designed by the researchers to be therapeutic and is based on the theory that music training improves hearing perception.
The other half of the study participants played a placebo game games to play hearing without focused on testing memory.
Hearing healthcare professionals know that hearing is about a lot more than the sounds captured by our ears. Hearing is a complicated and miraculous process involving cues from both ears that are sent to the brain for processing. The audiogame did not improve the quality of the sound from the ears. Hearing loss, especially age-related hearing loss, is rarely reversible. So, how did playing the game improve speech recognition?
The researchers yearing the gains were achieved because the games stimulated better use of cognitive resources. Heafing we age, some of our brain processing slows games to play hearing without and we may lose some language acuity. The game essentially trained the participants tp focus on speech and to weed out background noises. Brain-training games have often been touted as a way to improve brain function, but some recent board games of the world have cast doubt on whether any of the skills used in the games hearnig to real life.
The results of the audiogame study showed that the skills in this game did transfer to real-world communication improvements, especially hames the ability to track conversations with multiple speakers and board games of the world noise. The hope is that this study will serve as a blueprint for a model that combines brain training and audiological interventions, like hearing aids, to more info combat the effects of hearihg loss.