HEARING TIPS

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For people who have hearing loss, the expression “music to my ears” could have a whole new meaning.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the University College London assessed the effects of musical experiences on hearing loss in children and the results of the study illustrated the impact and benefit obtained by exposing people to music.

Gauging Speech-in-Noise Performance

Speech-in-noise performance was the key measure researchers looked at, putting 43 young kids in a clinical study for 14 to 17 months. Of those enrolled, 21 children had cochlear implants, while the remaining 22 had normal hearing ability. The researchers recognized that children with implants had a hard time understanding speech so they created control and test sets which assigned participants to singing and non-singing groups.

For kids in the singing group, a remarkable improvement in awareness and speech-in-noise performance was observed compared to children in the non-singing group.

Music Trains The Ear

There is a tremendous amount of research showing the advantages to cognitive ability and speech processing offered by musical training and this research is just one of them. In noisy settings, speech perception can be enhanced by musical training, and these findings were corroborated by research carried out by the Montreal Neurological Institute

That study examined the brain activity of 30 participants, 15 musicians and 15 non-musicians, challenging each to identify speech syllables through numerous background noise levels.

The ages of the participants in the study by Drs. Yi and Roberts, in contrast to the Helsinki/London study, averaged 22 years old. While participants weren’t necessarily hearing impaired, the difference in results among people who were trained musically and those who weren’t was substantial.

Non-Musicians Were Outperformed By Musicians

When the noise was missing, both groups had similar results, but when any amount of background noise was incorporated, the musicians substantially outperformed the non-musicians. It’s likely that the ability to perform well on these tests was due to enhancements to the left interior frontal and right auditory parts found within the brains of the musicians.

But the benefits of musical training revealed by Drs. Yi and Robert’s study don’t simply end there. The auditory motor network is refined and united to the auditory system and speech motor system by this musical training according to this research.

These adult musicians in this study had all been educated when they were younger and had at least a decade of training. Musical training has a powerful impact and this once again backs that fact.

The Affect of Hearing Loss on Beethoven

Hearing loss has been a problem for some of the world’s most well-known composers and musicians. Probably the most well-known deaf composer, Ludwig van Beethoven was born with the ability to hear, but that started to diminish while he was in his late 20s.

The early foundation of Beethoven’s training, though extreme, was likely the gateway for extending his musical career. As a matter of fact, Beethoven actually spent the last 10 years of his life nearly totally deaf. In spite of that, many of his most cherished pieces came during his last 15 years.

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References

Can children with hearing loss benefit from music and singing?

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-12-musical-affects-speech.html

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