Is It True That Learning To Play An Instrument Can Improve Hearing?

It is no secret that learning to play a musical instrument at an early age is beneficial. Playing an instrument can help with math skills, communication, time management, etc. The list goes on and on!

There are a lot of key factors that work together when playing a musical piece. The musician not only needs to see/read the notes they are playing they also need to listen carefully to what is being played. The need to listen carefully to musical cadences is a skill that musicians are constantly utilizing.


Learning to play a musical instrument may have an affect on your hearing.

Professor Nina Kraus of neurobiology, physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University conducted a study based on how sounds are detected and processed. Kraus found that among people with hearing loss, musicians were better at detecting, processing and remembering sounds. Kraus also explains that your hearing system ‘tunes in’ to different experiences you have had in the past with sound. For example, musicians are listening for a variety of things while playing a song, whether solo or with accompaniment. The skill of being able to focus on several aspects of sound all at once gives musicians a great advantage when combating hearing loss.

Since our hearing systems remember past experiences with sound when in loud public areas it is easier for musicians to focus in and understand what they are hearing. That is because they often times are pin-pointing sound in noise filled areas, such as practice rooms or concert halls.

The highly anticipated results of this study were validated when a group of classically trained musicians along with a group of non-musicians both listened to the same voice recite a few basic sentences in the midst of other noisy background conversations. Essentially, it showed how experience with music can ultimately change how the brain can respond to and interact with sound.

 

The Science of Listening

As a musician there are tasks that need to be performed such as listening to the sound of their own instrument, dynamics, and unique harmonies. Also, musicians outperform non-musicians when it comes to recalling sounds or words that they just heard. Ironically, this skill is necessary to have when listening in noisy environments. Kraus strongly believes that hearing loss issues could improve greatly in adults if they learn how to play a musical instrument as well. Children that are dealing with hearing problems or are deaf could likely benefit from learning a musical instrument as well.

Other experts agree with Kraus in the fact that deaf people not being able to hear and understand music is a myth. Children with hearing loss may have an interest in learning a musical instrument, however most are not offered the chance to learn because teachers assume they will not succeed.

 

Music Improves Various Factors

Playing an instrument can help improve social growth, language development and emotional growth along with many other things. The key is to choose an instrument with a pitch that the child will be able to hear.

A study performed by a prestigious team in Toronto, featured a series of hearing tests on 89 non-musicians and 74 adult musicians. Those tested ranged from 18-91 years of age in order to accurately determine how their hearing was affected as they aged.

Results showed that the average hearing of a musician aged 70 was just as strong as the non-musician aged 50. One member of the research team determined that age-related changes in auditory processing were delayed in those who played an instrument. Overall, this benefit increased considerably for musicians as they aged when compared to non-musicians that were similarly aged.

Is It True That Learning To Play An Instrument Can Improve Hearing?

It is no secret that learning to play a musical instrument at an early age is beneficial. Playing an instrument can help with math skills, communication, time management, etc. The list goes on and on!

There are a lot of key factors that work together when playing a musical piece. The musician not only needs to see/read the notes they are playing they also need to listen carefully to what is being played. The need to listen carefully to musical cadences is a skill that musicians are constantly utilizing.

Learning to play a musical instrument may have an affect on your hearing.

Professor Nina Kraus of neurobiology, physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University conducted a study based on how sounds are detected and processed. Kraus found that among people with hearing loss, musicians were better at detecting, processing and remembering sounds. Kraus also explains that your hearing system ‘tunes in’ to different experiences you have had in the past with sound. For example, musicians are listening for a variety of things while playing a song, whether solo or with accompaniment. The skill of being able to focus on several aspects of sound all at once gives musicians a great advantage when combating hearing loss.

Since our hearing systems remember past experiences with sound when in loud public areas it is easier for musicians to focus in and understand what they are hearing. That is because they often times are pin-pointing sound in noise filled areas, such as practice rooms or concert halls.

The highly anticipated results of this study were validated when a group of classically trained musicians along with a group of non-musicians both listened to the same voice recite a few basic sentences in the midst of other noisy background conversations. Essentially, it showed how experience with music can ultimately change how the brain can respond to and interact with sound.

 

The Science of Listening

As a musician there are tasks that need to be performed such as listening to the sound of their own instrument, dynamics, and unique harmonies. Also, musicians outperform non-musicians when it comes to recalling sounds or words that they just heard. Ironically, this skill is necessary to have when listening in noisy environments. Kraus strongly believes that hearing loss issues could improve greatly in adults if they learn how to play a musical instrument as well. Children that are dealing with hearing problems or are deaf could likely benefit from learning a musical instrument as well.

Other experts agree with Kraus in the fact that deaf people not being able to hear and understand music is a myth. Children with hearing loss may have an interest in learning a musical instrument, however most are not offered the chance to learn because teachers assume they will not succeed.

 

Music Improves Various Factors

Playing an instrument can help improve social growth, language development and emotional growth along with many other things. The key is to choose an instrument with a pitch that the child will be able to hear.

A study performed by a prestigious team in Toronto, featured a series of hearing tests on 89 non-musicians and 74 adult musicians. Those tested ranged from 18-91 years of age in order to accurately determine how their hearing was affected as they aged.

Results showed that the average hearing of a musician aged 70 was just as strong as the non-musician aged 50. One member of the research team determined that age-related changes in auditory processing were delayed in those who played an instrument. Overall, this benefit increased considerably for musicians as they aged when compared to non-musicians that were similarly aged.

  

  

  

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