Nav: Home

How much language are unborn children exposed to in the womb?

May 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 14, 2019 -- Premature infants spend a considerable amount of time growing in neonatal intensive care units instead of in the womb. The different soundscapes of NICUs has recently attracted interest in how changes in what we hear in our earliest days might affect language development in the brain. One ongoing study is hoping to better understand these differences by painting a clearer picture of what kinds of sounds full-term infants are exposed to in the womb.

By enlisting pregnant mothers to wear audio recorders, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are conducting one of the first studies on how often full-term fetuses hear spoken language before birth. The group plans to compare the collected data with data on how often children in NICUs hear spoken language in a simultaneous study.

The group will present their preliminary findings at the 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which takes place May 13-17, at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky.

"While there have been other studies evaluating typical language exposure for infants, toddlers and children, we have no data on the amount of language exposure a fetus receives after the onset of hearing in the womb," said Brian Monson, one of the researchers.

Previous studies have shown that fetuses develop the ability to hear sounds outside the womb shortly before the third trimester, the key time Monson and his colleagues are beginning to record fetuses' exposure to sound.

The pregnant mothers involved in the ongoing study wear recorders for 24 hours at a time. A computer algorithm then analyzes the recorder data to determine how much time during the day a fetus is exposed to language.

After more than 2,200 hours of audio collected, the group so far has found a wide difference in how much language full-term infants hear while in the womb, ranging from five hours of language per day to as little as two hours and 45 minutes.

"Some fetuses are averaging only 60% of the language exposure of their peers over the course of the third trimester," Monson said.

Participating infants receive a hearing test at three months after birth to see if there is a relationship between prenatal language exposure and the development of the hearing center of the brain. These will be compared to similar outcomes in a group of infants in the NICU.

Monson hopes the group's findings can help inform hospitals for best practices to ensure babies in the NICU develop along with their full-term peers.
-end-
Presentation #2pSC20, "Average daily speech exposure for fetuses," will be given during a poster session beginning at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 14, in Grand Ballroom C of the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky.

MORE MEETING INFORMATION

USEFUL LINKS

Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/

Technical program: https://ep70.eventpilotadmin.com/web/planner.php?id=ASASPRING19

Press Room: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLD WIDE PRESS ROOM

In the coming weeks, ASA's World Wide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300-500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION

We will grant free registration to credentialed staff journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact the AIP Media Line at 301-209-3090 or media@aip.org. Our media staff can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips or background information.

LIVE MEDIA WEBCAST

A press briefing will be webcast live from the conference Tuesday, May 14, in the Laffoon Room of the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Register at https://aipwebcasting.com to watch the live webcast. The schedule will be posted at the same site as soon as it is available.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org.

Acoustical Society of America

Related Language Articles:

The world's most spoken language is...'Terpene'
If you're small, smells are a good way to stand out.
Study analyzes what 'a' and 'the' tell us about language acquisition
A study co-authored by an MIT professor suggests that experience is an important component of early-childhood language usage although it doesn't necessarily account for all of a child's language facility.
Why do people switch their language?
Due to increasing globalization, the linguistic landscape of our world is changing; many people give up use of one language in favor of another.
Discovering what shapes language diversity
A research team led by Colorado State University is the first to use a form of simulation modeling to study the processes that shape language diversity patterns.
'Speaking my language': Method helps prepare teachers of dual language learners
Researchers at Lehigh University, led by L. Brook Sawyer and Patricia H.
The brain watched during language learning
Researchers from Nijmegen, the Netherlands, have for the first time captured images of the brain during the initial hours and days of learning a new language.
'Now-or-never bottleneck' explains language acquisition
We are constantly bombarded with linguistic input, but our brains are unable to remember long strings of linguistic information.
The secret language of microbes
Social microbes often interact with each other preferentially, favoring those that share certain genes in common.
A programming language for living cells
New language lets MIT researchers design novel biological circuits.
Syntax is not unique to human language
Human communication is powered by rules for combining words to generate novel meanings.

Related Language Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...