The Role of Sound in Residential Facilities for People With Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities

Kirsten A. van den Bosch*, Tjeerd C. Andringa, Deniz Baskent, Carla Vlaskamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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Attention to the auditory environment of people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) is limited, both in research and practice. As there is a dynamic interplay between the quality of the auditory environment and well-being, a study was undertaken to test the validity of the theoretical framework regarding the role of sound in homes for people with PIMD. The framework was formulated using techniques from soundscape and emotion research and resulted in a taxonomy of auditory environments, or soundscapes, including an important role for audible safety. A convenience sample of 34 healthcare professionals from various organizational layers volunteered to participate in a focus group study. During this expert meeting their latent knowledge was examined to see if it corresponded to the proposed theoretical framework. The answers given by the participants were grouped in five categories, Influencing behavior, Atmosphere, Clarity, Structure, Safety, and Recognition, showing a strong consistency between the knowledge and experience of the professionals and the theoretical framework. Results suggest the participants working on a strategic level have a less comprehensive understanding of the role of sound in the daily care. The authors' recommended the increase of awareness amongst the staff of organizations caring for people with PIMD of the role of sound in the environment so as to enhance psychological well-being and quality of life and thus reduce the prevalence of behavioral problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2016


  • audible safety
  • auditory environment
  • intellectual disability
  • PIMD
  • soundscapes

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