Today, I wanted to look at a very common issue – the challenges of Listening in Background Noise and what can be done to overcome them. Listening in background noise is officially known as auditory figure ground difficulties and can occur on its own or as part of Auditory Processing Disorder.
Auditory figure-ground difficulties refer to a person’s difficulty in separating important background sounds (the “figure”) from less important background sounds (the “ground”). This difficulty can impact a child’s ability to learn and perform in the school environment in several ways:
Listening and Attention: Children with auditory figure-ground difficulties may have trouble paying attention in noisy classrooms or lectures because they struggle to separate the teacher’s voice from other background noises. This can lead to difficulties with listening, retaining information, and following instructions.
Learning: Children with auditory figure-ground difficulties may have trouble learning new information because they are not able to focus on what the teacher is saying. This can result in a lower academic performance and a reduced ability to complete schoolwork.
Classroom Behaviour: Children with auditory figure-ground difficulties may become easily distracted or fidgety in noisy classrooms. This can lead to difficulties staying on task, following instructions, and completing assignments, which can result in disruptive behaviour in the classroom.
Socialisation: Children with auditory figure-ground difficulties may also have trouble interacting with their peers and teachers because they struggle to hear and understand what is being said. This can lead to difficulties making friends, participating in class discussions, and communicating effectively.
It’s important for educators and parents to be aware of these difficulties and to work together to provide accommodations and support for children with auditory figure-ground difficulties. This may include strategies such as reducing background noise in the classroom, providing visual aids, and using adaptive technology to help children better focus and understand what is being said.
Other ways we can help is by using programmes that help to train the brain to ‘hear’ more accurately. The Listening Program is a gentle way to ‘tune’ up a child’s auditory system enabling a child to ‘hear’ sounds more accurately. Fast ForWord is also very effective. Here is a video explaining how Fast ForWord helps listening in background noise.
To find out more about The Listening Program and Fast ForWord contact Mary here