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I Can’t Hear Myself Think! How the Brain Deals With Talking in Noisy Environments

Authors
  • Meekings, Sophie1, 2
  • 1 School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers for Young Minds
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Apr 27, 2022
Volume
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/frym.2022.703524
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Neuroscience and Psychology
  • New Discovery
License
Green

Abstract

Imagine you are at party with loud music playing. What would it be like trying to speak to your friend in all that noise? Scientists call background noise like this “masking sound” because it covers up other sounds, in two ways. The background sound might be so loud that it blocks out other noises, or it might contain information that is distracting. Maybe it is your favorite song and you cannot help singing along! Which of these do you think affects you most when you are trying to talk? We decided to find out by putting people in a brain scanner and asking them to talk while we played various noises in the background. We found that the brain cares most about sounds that contain lots of information, even if they do not block out other noises very well. So, maybe being able to hear yourself is not as important as we thought!

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