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Can Music Positively Affect Hearing and Memory?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 9:13:08 PM Australia/Melbourne

Can Music Positively Affect Hearing and Memory?At first glance, this statement probably sounds counterintuitive, especially for many of our patients and customers. After all, aren’t music and loud environmental volumes two of the main catalysts for hearing loss? Well, yes and no.


New research from Stanford University has shown that a solid degree of musical training can slow hearing delays, can slow hearing loss and can positively impact many other age-related delays. This research has been showcased in Neurobiology of Aging and as the title of the publication would suggest, specifically focuses on those later on in life.


PsychCentral profiled the research and shared the following:


“In the study, researchers in the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory discovered that older musicians had a distinct neural timing advantage. This was determined by measuring the automatic brain responses of younger and older musicians and non-musicians to speech sounds.


The older musicians not only outperformed their older non-musician counterparts, they encoded the sound stimuli as quickly and accurately as the younger non-musicians,” says Northwestern neuroscientist and co-author Nina Kraus, Ph.D.


This isn’t the first study that has focused on the positive impacts that music can have on both hearing loss and on memory and should not come as a great surprise. Music will trigger memory in those with hearing loss, as well as memory loss. It is particularly prevalent in treatment for those with Alzheimer’s.  


Music has been said by many scientists and in an abundance of research that music boosts brain chemicals. Listening to music increases the transmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is referred to as the motivation molecule. It’s a very important part of the pleasure-reward system in the brain. This is the same chemical that you can thank for the feel-good states related to many of life’s greatest pleasures like eating chocolate and the high you get after you run or get a physical workout.


Playing music with others also stimulates another hormone in the brain called oxytocin. While dopamine is the motivation molecule, oxytocin is both the trust molecule and the moral molecule. Oxytocin is responsible for helping individuals to bond together and to trust each other. How does this relate to your brain function? With the help of oxytocin, music lovers are more generous and trustworthy.


That’s not to say that you should disregard advice previously shared on the Hearlink blog around volume and time intensity of music listening. Just try to find a balance. You can enjoy all of the neurological benefits of music at moderate volume so that no damage is done to your ears.


These findings only add to a growing body of work showcasing the benefits of musical training. It’s truly eye-opening to continue to tie the parallels between art and science, and what a symbiotic relationship the two can have in the brains of our patients at any age. 


Questions? Let your Hearlink team know. You’ve hopefully noticed our passion for discussion around these types of topics. We’d love to help and answer any questions that you may have.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin