Training the brain to recognize voices

June 07, 2021

People in crowded public space - Photo by glidagida (Pixabay)

Photo by glidagida (Pixabay)

During the pandemic, people around the world have spent their lives in unusually quiet places – often at home, isolated or bubbled with family or friends. As restrictions ease in North America and parts of Europe, and people are allowed to socialize again and go back to work, they’ll likely find themselves in much noisier places.

New research from Western University and University College London (UCL) suggests these same people may need to brush up on the social skill of concentrating on a conversation in the midst of all of the noise. The study also shows how people can train themselves to do this better.

“When we go into cafés, pubs and restaurants, we often hear the chatter of other conversations around us, which makes it more difficult to understand the person we’re trying to listen to,” said Emma Holmes, UCL senior research fellow and former postdoctoral fellow at Western’s Brain and Mind Institute.

She says people are usually quite good at understanding what someone’s saying when they’re in a quiet place, but it can be very difficult to understand what someone’s saying when there is background noise.

Read the full story by Jeff Renaud at Western News