Background noise has become part of our everyday life in modern societies. Its presence affects both the ability to concentrate and communicate. Some individuals, like children, the elderly, and non-native speakers have pronounced problems in noisy environments. Here we review evidence suggesting that background noise has both transient and Sustained detrimental effects on central speech processing. Studies on the effects of noise on neural processes have demonstrated hemispheric reorganization in speech processing in adult individuals during background noise. During noise, the well-known left hemisphere dominance in speech discrimination became right hemisphere preponderant. Furthermore, long-term exposure to noise has a persistent effect on the brain organization of speech processing and attention control. These results both stress the importance to re-evaluate which noise levels can be considered safe for brain functions and raise concerns on the speech and cognitive abilities of individuals living in noisy environments. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- 515 Psykologi