Safe and Sound: Soundscape research in special needs care

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The quality of the auditory environment surrounding us has a strong influence on our moods, behavior, and well-being. This unique interdisciplinary research, in which the departments Special Needs Education and Artificial Intelligence have worked together, focuses on improving the auditory environment in long-term healthcare, specifically for people with profound intellectual (and multiple) disabilities (PIMD). The high prevalence of visual impairments amongst these people and their diminished cognitive abilities, make them particularly dependent on sound in understanding the world around them.
With three studies, in which use was made of soundscape tools such as a smartphone application and 3D sound, it was demonstrated that the quality of the auditory environment is indeed related to the moods and (problem) behavior in this target group. Audible safety seems to play an important role in the quality of auditory environments: an environment should reassure and not annoy.
The main recommendation we make is to increase awareness throughout the entire organization on the role of sound in the living environment of people with profound intellectual (and multiple) disabilities. Optimizing the auditory environment is important to provide the best possible care. Until this is achieved, the auditory environment will have a significant negative impact on the physical and psychological wellbeing of the residents.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Vlaskamp, Carla, Supervisor
  • Ruijssenaars, Aloysius, Supervisor
  • Baskent, Deniz, Supervisor
  • Andringa, Tjeerd, Co-supervisor
Award date29-Oct-2015
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8144-2
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8143-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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