Learning to play music can help your hearing

music lessons Birmingham
Woman holds her hand near ear and listens carefully isolated on gray wall background

Did you know playing music can improve your ability to discern certain sounds?

Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist from Chicago has found still more positive effects on adults that received early musical training – in the realm of communicating and hearing. Kraus measured the activity in the auditory brain stems of 40+ adults, between the ages of 50 and 76 tested on their response to the speech syllable ‘da’.

The subjects hadn’t touched a musical instrument in roughly 40 years, however, those that had trained for a long period of time (between four and fourteen years) responded faster than others.

Kraus says this is ‘significant’. Our hearing does decline as we get older, and with it the ability to distinguish consonants – a crucial skill for the participation and understand of a conversation.

Nina Kraus says, “If your nervous system is not keeping up with the timing necessary for encoding consonants – did you say pill or fill, hat or that – eve if the vowel part is understood,” you are likely to lose out the flow and meaning of the conversation at hand, possibly leading to an individual feeling socially isolated.

Her hypothesis is that musical training allows the individual to focus on accurate connections between a sound and a meaning. Learners are able to focus on the note in front of them and link it to the sound it represents, continuing to be able to recognise which sounds do and don’t go together, on passages that are played when associated with a specific emotion. Furthermore, the students will be using their motor system to create the sounds through their fingers.

There are also other possible benefits to a person’s listening skills and hearing skills when playing music, she says, “Musicians throughout their lives, and as they age, hear better in noisy environments. Difficulty in hearing words against a noisy background is a common complaint amongst people as they get older.

Progress Academy offers many different music lessons in Birmingham for those who are wanting to learn to play a musical instrument!

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