In the following video, Susan Mazer, cofounder ofHealing Healthcare Systems, wraps up her session at Environments for Aging 2008 in Tucson, Arizona. The session focused on hearing impairment and the environment. The take-away message was that designers need to be considering the “auditory impact” of spaces, operations, and equipment much more than they currently are. Hearing impairments can lead to agitation, inappropriate responses, and lack of participation. These in turn can lead to people such as caregivers questioning the person’s cognition, memory, social skills, and independence, when the problem is actually auditory. She encouraged facility planners to ask manufactures and designers about the auditory impact in all specifications. Seemingly unbeknown to the majority of those in attendance, engineers called noise control engineers specialize in analyzing this kind of thing.
According to Mazer’s presentation, the perfect storm for auditory chaos includes: Hardwood flooring + High ceilings + Lots of activity + Groups of people + Hearing impairment