Parents are often told that having their children learn to play a musical instrument helps them to be better students. However, recent studies indicate that learning to play a musical instrument helps you to hear better when you get older.
Previous studies have shown musicians have better hearing than non-players. But this research, by a team at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, looked at adults of all ages – from 18 to 91 – to see how people were affected as they aged.
They carried out hearing tests on 74 amateur and professional musicians (who had played since the age of 16, were still practising and had been given formal music lessons) and 89 non-musicians (who had never played an instrument).
Musicians were significantly better at picking out speech against noise.
The researchers suggest that lifelong musicianship mitigates age-related changes in the brain, probably due to musicians using their auditory systems at a high level on a regular basis.
Benjamin Zendel, who was part of the research team, said: “We found that being a musician may contribute to better hearing in old age by delaying some of the age-related changes in central auditory processing.
“This advantage widened considerably for musicians as they got older when compared to similar-aged non-musicians.”
All people, whether musicians or not should protect their hearing and have annual hearing exams after age 60 to monitor their hearing. You can call for a free hearing consultation at one of our two Utah County offices at 801-770-0801 or see http://www.utahhearingaids.com/ for more information about hearing and hearing protection.