New Hearing Test Explores How Developmentally Disabled Kids Perceive and Distinguish SoundsBy AT Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1
Publication Date: June 2002
Article describing a test evaluating how well children can tune in some sounds while they tune out others. The test, which was developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Ruth Litovsky, simulates the noisy world by including a variety of competing voices and other sounds that children might hear at school, on the playground, or at home. Children who take the test sit in front of a computer surrounded by a semicircle of loudspeakers. The participants listen for words that match pictures on the screen. Sometimes, they might hear only one voice asking them to point to a particular object. Other times, they might hear several voices coming from either the same location, or from different locations. Each voice asks the children to choose an object. To correctly identify the object, the participants have to ignore all of the simultaneous speakers, except for the one giving the directions. The results of the test have demonstrated that children have more difficulty separating competing sounds that produce a more audible echo or reverberation. Future implications for applying the test to children who have cochlear implants, autism, fragile-X, and Down syndrome are discussed.
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