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Noisy Surroundings Take Toll on Short-term Memory

Posted May 10 2013 6:27pm

Noise… what a pain in the neck

I guess it’s not just me… More interesting reading…

Have you ever noticed how tiresome it can be to follow a conversation at a noisy party? Rest assured: this is not necessarily due to bad hearing – although that might make things worse. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have found that adverse listening situations are difficult for the brain, partly because they draw on the same, limited resources supporting our short-term memory. The new findings are particularly relevant to understanding the cognitive consequences of hearing damage, a condition that affects an increasing number of people.

Whether we are engaged in small talk or trying to memorise a telephone number – it is our short-term memory that ensures we don’t lose track. But what if the very same memory gets additionally taxed because the words to be remembered are hard to understand? This is suggested by a new study conducted by Jonas Obleser and his team at the Max Planck Research Group “Auditory Cognition”

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