Ambient Noise May Negatively Impact People With Schizophrenia

Intense or distracting levels of ambient noise could decrease the cognitive functioning abilities in patients suffering from schizophrenia.

According to a new study published in Schizophrenia Research, environmental noise exacerbated preexisting cognitive deficiencies in schizophrenics, especially in the area of their verbal memory. The results of the study could positively impact the nearly three million Americans who suffer from the disease.

“Cognitive assessment of clinical groups on noisy wards may lead to overestimation of cognitive deficits in domains that are sensitive to noise,” said Bernice Wright, PhD, lead author of the study.

The effects of noise

Researchers looked at the effects of ambient noise on participants with schizophrenia and those without the disease. Both groups were subjected to cognitive battery tests under peaceful, urban and social noise conditions. Researchers assessed cognitive abilities like attention, working memory and verbal learning.

The resulted showed that participants with schizophrenia struggled more compared with participants without the disease in terms of cognitive function when presented with the three noise conditions.

“Noisy situations may further alter seemingly stable cognitive deficits in people with schizophrenia,” said Wright. “Given the association between cognitive function and functional outcomes, noise management, such as reducing exposure to noise where feasible, may improve the lives of people with psychotic disorders.”

Source: Psychiatry Advisor

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