Home » News » Background Noise Challenges Dyslexics

Background Noise Challenges Dyslexics

Background Noise Challenges DyslexicsDyslexia is a learning disability that affects up to 17.5 percent of the population. Although researchers believe the disorder is caused by a defect in the brain’s processing of graphic symbols, the exact cause for the condition is unknown.

Now, new research suggests the symptoms of dyslexia, including difficulties in reading, are at least partly due to difficulty filtering out excess background information like noise.

University of Southern California researchers studied 37 undergraduate students, the researchers, and found that the poor readers performed significantly worse than the control group only when there were high levels of background noise.

The two groups performed comparably at the prescribed task when there was no background noise and when the stimulus set size was varied, either a large or a small set size.

According to Rachel Beattie, Ph.D., “these findings support a relatively new theory, namely that dyslexic individuals do not completely filter out irrelevant information when attending to letters and sounds.

‚ÄúThis external noise exclusion deficit could lead to the creation of inaccurate representations of words and phonemes and ultimately, to the characteristic reading and phonological awareness impairments observed in dyslexia.”

The study is published in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Source: Public Library of Science

Young man reading photo by shutterstock.

Background Noise Challenges Dyslexics

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Background Noise Challenges Dyslexics. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on All rights reserved.