Wales

Turning your ear helps you hear, Cardiff Uni study finds

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It may seem obvious but, turning your ear towards a person when they talk can improve the understanding of speech in noisy environments, a study has found.

Listeners in loud places benefited from facing slightly away from the person they were listening to, Cardiff University discovered.

The move was especially helpful to people with cochlear implants who often struggle to hear in places such as restaurants.

It also helped people who lip read.

When tested in a laboratory and a simulated restaurant setting with speech and interfering noise, the technique resulted in a four-decibel improvement.

The university said this could mean the difference between understanding nothing and perfect understanding.

The technique was also found to be compatible with lip reading which was unaffected when people turned their heads just 30 degrees.

Dr Jacques Grange from Cardiff University's School of Psychology said the research showed an ear tilt helped those with hearing problems engage in conversations in noisy environments and not become isolated.

Dr Ralph Holme, head of biomedical research at Action on Hearing Loss, which helped fund the study, welcomed the research.

He added the charity was now campaigning for bars, restaurants and cafes to do more to improve their acoustics to make it easier for people with a hearing loss to hear.

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