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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Ageing, hearing loss and acoustics: can we improve communication in noisy environments like waiting rooms?

For many, older age brings age-related hearing loss. Noise and poor acoustics often add to these difficulties, making healthcare waiting rooms a particularly challenging environment for both older patients and healthcare staff.

The session began with Dr Tim Wilding presenting a background to age-related hearing loss and a review of recent research approaches to tackling this issue within the audiology field.

Dr Bill Davies then examined how room acoustics and background noise impact on speech intelligibility and also recent policy and room design and building policy was reviewed.

Dr Susan Rutherford and Dr Jo Hart discussed what we know about voice production and vocal qualities and how this may help or hinder communication with older people.

Finally, Dr Ian Brown reported on progress with the MICRA funded project ‘Voices in the waiting room’. The work has included a literature review and a series of engagement events with health care workers and members of the public. Ian sketched out what further research might entail if we wanted to develop and evaluate a practical intervention for healthcare waiting rooms.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

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