Navigation Links
Taking up music so you can hear
Date:8/17/2009

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Anyone with an MP3 device -- just about every man, woman and child on the planet today, it seems -- has a notion of the majesty of music, of the primal place it holds in the human imagination.

But musical training should not be seen simply as stuff of the soul -- a frill that has to go when school budgets dry up, according to a new Northwestern University study.

The study shows that musicians -- trained to hear sounds embedded in a rich network of melodies and harmonies -- are primed to understand speech in a noisy background, say in a restaurant, classroom or plane.

It is the first demonstration of musical training offsetting the deleterious effects of background noise, and the implications are provocative.

"The study points to a highly pragmatic side of music's magic," said Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, where the research was done.

The findings strongly support the potential therapeutic and rehabilitation use of musical training to address auditory processing and communication disorders throughout the life span.

Hearing speech in noise is difficult for everyone. But the difficulty is particularly acute for older adults, who are likely to have hearing and memory loss, and for poor readers who have normal hearing but whose nervous systems poorly transcribe sounds that ultimately are critical to good reading skills.

"Many older adults will say, 'I can hear what you're saying, but I don't understand you,'" Kraus said. "So they might have a little bit of a hearing loss, but often not enough to warrant the difficulty that a lot of older adults report."

Such populations could benefit from the reordering of the nervous system that occurs with musical training, according to the study. Because the brain changes with experience, musicians have better-tuned circuitry -- the pitch, timing and spectral elements of sound are represented more strongly and with greater precision in their nervous systems.

"Musical training makes musicians really good at picking out melodies, the bass line, the sound of their own instruments from complex sounds," Kraus said. Now, for the first time, this study has confirmed that such fine tuning of the nervous system also makes musicians highly adept at translating speech in noise.

The finding has particular implications for hearing certain consonants which are vulnerable to misinterpretation by the brain and are a big problem for some poor readers in a noisy environment. The brain's unconscious faulty interpretation of sounds makes a big difference in how words ultimately will be read.

Thirty-one study participants, with normal hearing and a mean age of 23, were divided into one group with music experience and another without it. They had to listen to sentences presented in increasingly noisy conditions and repeat back what they heard.

Better perception in noise was linked with better working memory and tone discrimination ability. The results imply that musical training enhances the ability to hear speech in challenging listening environments by strengthening auditory memory and the representation of important acoustic features.

In one of the tests, for example, participants had to repeat back "The square peg will settle in the round hole." Such longer sentences that are syntactically correct but lack familiar cues measure working memory as well as the ability to distinguish sounds in noise.

The Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern has helped establish the relationship between sound encoding in the brain and linguistic abilities by showing that the very neural sound transcription processes that are deficient in children with dyslexia are enhanced in people with musical experience. Based on this collective work, poor readers may show greater benefits from training programs that include music as well as speech sounds.

By reinforcing the pervasive effects that musical experience has on sound-processing abilities, Kraus stressed, this study underscores the importance of music education being more accessible to the general population.


'/>"/>

Contact: Pat Vaughan Tremmel
p-tremmel@northwestern.edu
847-491-4892
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Depression Taking Toll on Returning U.S. Vets
2. 13 percent of women stop taking breast cancer drug because of side effects, U-M study finds
3. Study finds drug spending caps cause some seniors to quit taking key medicines
4. The Nutrition-Conscious Are Taking a Bite Out of Fast Food
5. New Resource for Taking Care of Aging Parents Available in Beta
6. Study finds drug spending caps cause some seniors to quit taking key medicines
7. Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association Survey Shows Consumer Driven Health Plan Enrollees Are Taking More Control of Their Healthcare
8. Taking the stress out of choosing the right stress test
9. Better Prostate Cancer Survival for Men Taking Statins
10. Multi-talented Entertainer Chris Brown Goes Back to School, Taking on a Starring Role in the St. Jude Math-A-Thon (R) Video
11. Mayo Clinic study finds that after heart attack most patients stop taking life-saving drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and ... in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary ... of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here . , For the ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply ... health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that ... Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 ... ... will discuss health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June ... share their work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can easily customize ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn pictures into ... Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has ... he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The ... first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 ... GBT ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics ... significant unmet needs, today announced the closing of ... shares of common stock, at the public offering ... shares in the offering were offered by GBT. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more ... that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that ... new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in ... on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... According to a new market ... Needles, Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, ... of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts ... market for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. ... by 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: