Texting proves beneficial in auditory overload situations

May 31, 2013

During command and control operations, military personnel are frequently exposed to extreme auditory overload – essentially bombarded by multiple messages coming from radio networks, loudspeakers, and live voices in an environment also filled with high-level noise from weapons and vehicles.

Adding a visual cue, such as texting, was explored by a team of researchers in Canada as a way to overcome this problem. Sharon Abel, defense scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada, will present her team's findings at the 21st on Acoustics (ICA 2013), held June 2-7 in Montreal.

"In , it's critical that messages be monitored, encoded, responded to and relayed accurately, in a timely manner, to ensure situational awareness, personal safety, and mission success," explains Abel.

To test the value of adding a visual cue to the mix, the researchers ran two experiments. First, they investigated the benefit of using to direct the listener's attention to an audio channel delivering a target message. Inside a mock-up military land vehicle, participants were exposed to multiple messages over right and left earphones via headset, and . Variables included a background of quiet or vehicle noise, with and without babble noise that modeled surrounding conversations, and with and without visual cues.

For their second experiment, the team tested the benefits of instant messaging as a supplement to audio presentation of information by asking participants to engage in two tasks simultaneously. Participants listened to pairs of phrases in right and left headset , while at the same time they had to decide whether or not simple math equations—presented over a loudspeaker, as a text message, or both—were correct.

"Participants had no difficulty responding to messages presented over the headset, although, there was a right ear advantage," Abel says. "We discovered that messages presented over a loudspeaker in noise were more difficult to understand. But a visual cue directing attention and text messaging resulted in significant improvements in performance. Our findings suggest that the use of the visual system is a viable supplement for communication in cases of auditory overload or degraded listening."

While the team's findings are particularly relevant for military operations, they may also prove quite useful to a diverse range of civilian trades that involve processing auditory information from multiple sources—such as air traffic control, office management, and group tutorials.

Explore further: Background noise in the operating room can impair surgical team communication

More information: Presentation 1pNSa3, "Supplemental text messaging for the resolution of auditory overload," is in the afternoon session on Monday, June 3. Abstract: asa.aip.org/web2/asa/abstracts … ch.jun13/asa206.html

Related Stories

Background noise in the operating room can impair surgical team communication

May 10, 2013
Chicago (May 10, 2013): Ambient background noise—whether it is the sound of loud surgical equipment, talkative team members, or music—is a patient and surgical safety factor that can affect auditory processing among surgeons ...

Fear factor: Study shows brain's response to scary stimuli

February 8, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Driving through his hometown, a war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder may see roadside debris and feel afraid, believing it to be a bomb. He's ignoring his safe, familiar surroundings and only ...

Walking to the beat could help patients with Parkinson's disease

September 20, 2012
Walking to a beat could be useful for patients needing rehabilitation, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. The findings, highlighted in the August issue of PLOS One, demonstrate that researchers should further ...

Study shows why some types of multitasking are more dangerous than others

July 23, 2012
In a new study that has implications for distracted drivers, researchers found that people are better at juggling some types of multitasking than they are at others.

Sore thumbs? US text messaging declines

May 2, 2013
Americans are saying goodbye to text messaging, a wireless industry group says, as Internet-based applications such as Apple's Messages are starting to taking over from what was once a cash cow for phone companies.

Recommended for you

The neural codes for body movements

July 21, 2017
A small patch of neurons in the brain can encode the movements of many body parts, according to researchers in the laboratory of Caltech's Richard Andersen, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, Tianqiao and Chrissy ...

Speech language therapy delivered through the Internet leads to similar improvements as in-person treatment

July 20, 2017
Telerehabilitation helps healthcare professionals reach more patients in need, but some worry it doesn't offer the same quality of care as in-person treatment. This isn't the case, according to recent research by Baycrest.

Faulty support cells disrupt communication in brains of people with schizophrenia

July 20, 2017
New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia. When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia ...

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain

July 20, 2017
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a "sensory map" within their brains, according to new research.

Scientists reveal how patterns of brain activity direct specific body movements

July 20, 2017
New research by Columbia scientists offers fresh insight into how the brain tells the body to move, from simple behaviors like walking, to trained movements that may take years to master. The discovery in mice advances knowledge ...

Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons

July 20, 2017
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have opened a black box in the brain whose contents explain one of the remarkable yet mysterious facts of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.