Exploring everyday sounds in dementia: Practical guidelines for interactive workshops

M. Houben*, R. G. A. Brankaert, S. Bakker, I. M. B. Bongers, B. Eggen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


Motivated by the successes of music in dementia, researchers and designers in HCI are exploring the potential benefits of non-musical sounds from everyday life for people with dementia. Research in the field of building acoustics and psychology is suggesting that re-presenting everyday sounds as soundscapes in the care space can influence emotional states, relieve boredom, and reduce stress. However, as the responses to sound are personal, and each person experiences dementia differently, an understanding is needed on how people with dementia individually react to sound. Consequently, participatory approaches are needed to take into account individual needs, preferences, and relationships in the process of identifying meaningful sounds. In this chapter, we reflect on our exploratory study, consisting of a series of interactive workshops involving people with dementia at a day-care facility to explore their personal responses to sound. We adopted a design research approach by using the dementia soundboard, a design artifact to facilitate re-experiencing of everyday sounds in the workshop space. Based on our experiences, we provide a critical reflection on our research protocol and articulate practical guidelines to enable the involvement of people with dementia and to promote social engagement and meaningful activity in the process of identifying affective audio content.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHCI and design in the context of dementia
EditorsRens Brankaert, Gail Kenning
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-32835-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-32834-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameHuman–Computer Interaction Series
ISSN (Print)1571-5035
ISSN (Electronic)2524-4477


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