Theses Doctoral

Associations Among Noise Exposure, Brain, and Language Development in Children

Simon, Katrina Rose

This dissertation examines associations among home noise exposure, language skills, and brain structure and function in children spanning multiple developmental stages.

To measure home noise exposure, digital audio recordings of the home environment were obtained and used to calculate home noise levels. To examine brain structure in children, Study 1 leveraged magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To examine brain function in response to speech sounds in toddlers, Study 3 leveraged electroencephalography (EEG) in order to elicit event-related potentials (ERPs) that have been related to language abilities.

All studies also incorporated the use of standardized assessments of language to examine children’s developing language abilities and used either parent-report measures of language (Study 2) or direct assessments of children’s language abilities (Studies 1 & 3). Primary hypotheses included that higher home noise exposure would be associated with 1) reduced cortical thickness (Study 1), 2) lower scores on measures of language skills in infancy and childhood (Studies 1, 2, and 3), and reduced neural differentiation of speech sounds (Study 3).

Together, these findings shed light on the potential impact of noise exposure on children’s brain and language development. By better understanding how factors in children’s everyday environments might influence neural and cognitive development, we can best inform efforts aimed at optimizing children’s developmental trajectories.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Noble, Kimberly G.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 26, 2023