A recent study among Swedish school children suggests that white noise helps children diagnosed with reading difficulties perform tasks better. Visual white noise had significant improvement in children's performance in both reading and word recall.

What is Dyslexia?

Child reading
(Photo: Kindel Media from Pexels)

Dyslexia, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a learning disorder that includes difficulty in reading because of problems learning and identifying speech sounds, how letters and words relate, otherwise known as decoding. Also characterized as a reading disability, dyslexia affects parts of the brain that process language.

Contrary to popular belief, people diagnosed with dyslexia are equipped with normal vision and intelligence. Most, succeed in schooling without the help of external forces. However, for others, it's a much more significant impediment.

Although, there is no current cure for dyslexia, early assessment, diagnosis, and intervention can result in significantly better outcomes. It can be difficult for most to detect signs of dyslexia before a child enters school however some red flags to watch out for are late talking, problems forming words correctly, reversing sounds in words, problems remembering or naming colors, numbers, and letters, and difficulties in learning new words.

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White Noise Aids in Dyslexic Children's Word Recall and Reading Skills

Children diagnosed with reading disabilities face tremendous difficulties reading and understanding words despite having normal intelligence. Children seen with poor reading skills are far more likely to struggle in academics and often face psychological issues. This is why Goran B. W. Soderlund and his team decided to test the potential benefits of sensory white noise in aiding dyslexic children.

Soderland explains to PsyPost that he had a general interest in memory, attention, and under what conditions children with difficulties perform best. In a study published in the journal Brain and Behavior, titled "Sensory white noise improves reading skills and memory recall in children with reading disability," researchers experimented with Swedish school children between ages 10 to 13. The students were then screened for reading ability and classified into three different groups. 30 children with reading disability and phonological decoding difficulties, 30 children with reading difficulties and mild orthographic but no phonological decoding difficulties, and 22 children that were skilled readers.

The children were then asked to complete different readings tests while exposed to either auditory white nose, one of four levels of visual white pixel noirs, or no nose. With each child experiencing all noise levels.

After concluding the research, findings showed that those with attention and reading difficulties should be aware of their surroundings while performing demanding cognitive tasks. Many of the target groups performed significantly better in noisy environments, with either auditory or visual noise stimulation. The authors of the study say that the recently concluded findings shed light on potential new tools to support children in the classroom, suggesting that white sensory noises offer immediate aid for children struggling with reading difficulties.

On the other hand, researchers add that it will be vital for future research to explore the long-term effects of white noise exposure to better determining whether the benefits are long-lasting or may end in habituation.

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