Everyday Sounds of Dementia

Everyday sounds of dementia

Research to the beneficial effects of everyday sounds

The ‘Everyday Sounds of Dementia’ project aims to explore and identify the beneficial effects of everyday sounds for people with dementia.

Based on the large body of evidence on how music provides emotional and behavioral benefits, the ‘Everyday Sounds of Dementia’ project aims to explore and identify the beneficial effects of everyday sounds for people with dementia. In this project, we combine healthcare expertise with design-research approaches to establish a knowledge framework of the added value of sound for people with dementia, and to develop and evaluate audio-based technology with immediate meaningful impact in care practices. We adopt a reciprocal research approach by providing activities with interactive audio-based technology that stimulates agency, playfulness and social engagement.
The main goals of the project are to:
1) investigate the effects of personalized soundscapes on people living with dementia and their caregivers
2) explore and identify opportunities for audio-based technology and person-centered design for dementia using research-through-design approaches
3) develop knowledge on collaborative approaches to enable people living with dementia and their caregivers to engage in co-design and participatory approaches

This project is financed by ZonMw Create Health and is a partnership between Eindhoven University of Technology (Department of Industrial Design), Tilburg University (Tranzo), care organization Archipel, Cooperation Slimmer Leven, with external collaboration with Pleyade care organization and University of Technology Sydney.

Researcher

Maarten Houben

Maarten Houben

Research details

  • Involved researchers: Maarten Houben, Rens Brankaert, Gail Kenning, Inge Bongers, and Berry Eggen
  • Period: April 2018 – July 2021
  • Partners: ZonMw Create Health, Eindhoven University of Technology (Department of Industrial Design), Tilburg University (Tranzo) and care organization Archipel

Insights

  • Participatory workshops with the Dementia Soundboard provided insight into how everyday sounds evoke memories, emotional experiences, and a sense of social belonging during activities in a day-care center.
  • Our field study on the deployment of VITA, an interactive sound cushion, in two care facilities provided insight into how everyday sounds facilitated by VITA stimulate meaningful conversations, playfulness, curiosity, and verbal and nonverbal contact with people in advanced stages of dementia.
  • A current ongoing field study has demonstrated opportunities for everyday sounds and design in the home environment to provide social activities through storytelling and exploring selfhood and identity.