Impacts of Silence

May 29, 2023

Silence is kind of a peak achievement in a child’s ability to control themselves.

Pre-school teacher Steve Mejía-Menendez of Washington D.C. He utilizes sign language in his classroom at a Lee Montessori Public Charter School in order to minimize noise.

Big Picture: According to a paper published in Frontiers in Psychology, too much loud noise can negatively impact the cognitive development of children (for example, their reading/memory skills). Multiple separate studies have shown similar results regarding the impact of noise.

“The hearing brain is vast,” says neurobiologist Nina Kraus, who has written a book on this topic. She explains that auditory input is processed faster by the human brain than visual input is; therefore, “when we have the space to listen, our brains prioritize what we tune in to and reward paying attention through a release of dopamine” (NPR).

When we hear certain sounds related to things we are interested in, these sounds can grab our attention. NPR reports, “There are certain sounds, like the sound of your own name, that your brain is unconsciously conditioned to respond to, even when you’re asleep.” Other sounds that may not be important to us or are out of our control are considered “noise.” Therefore, “when the sounds we are exposed to aren’t helping us learn a new skill or stay safe at a busy intersection, the brain can get distracted and have trouble focusing” (NPR).

Interesting To Note: Kraus says making sounds that are meaningful, such as playing an instrument or singing can strengthen neural connections. Learn more by clicking the link below!

How a little more silence in children’s lives helps them grow (NPR)

by Jenna Lee,