Richards, Leanne

Start date:
October 2019
Research Topic:
The influence of environmental sounds on walking integrity in older adults
Research Supervisor:
Professor Andrea Tales
Supervising school:
Swansea University Medical School,
Primary funding source:

With a growing rise in the ageing population, trips, falls and accidents are becoming increasingly prevalent, with 1 in 3 older adults (65+) having at least one fall each year. The risk of falls remains under researched, however, we know the brains limited informational processing capacity means that attention is split between monitoring what is going on in ones surroundings and behaviour such as walking and talking. For this reason, the aim of my PhD is to examine possible factors which raises the risk of falls, namely the reduced ability to dual task, namely to process environmental sounds.

To examine the role of environmental sounds upon walking, ambulatory information will be gained using wearable motion detection devices, enabling the measurements of the functional integrity of components of walking. In addition, computer and electroencephalographic (EEG) tests of the individuals functioning integrity of audition and automatic change detection will be used to capture automatic and volitional attentional shifts. This will allow us to determine how individual difference may influence detrimental susceptibility to environmental sounds.