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How Music Can Benefit Your Hearing Health

Friday, July 27, 2018 7:40:00 PM Australia/Melbourne

How Music Can Benefit Your Hearing Health

Music accompanies us throughout our lives. An expectant mother is encouraged to play music to her unborn child, and whilst in labour, the ward stereo will be playing favourite tracks as an, admittedly ineffectual, aid to relaxation.

 

We sing nursery rhymes, clapping hands and laughing, and children’s parties have the latest pop tunes for passing the parcel or jumping on chairs. We play our favourite soundtrack at our birthdays, weddings and celebrations of our milestones.

 

Until recently, people who suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss have mourned the loss of their ability to listen to music. This is especially traumatic if their hearing impairment developed later in life. In addition to being denied the enjoyment that music brings, hearing loss can deprive a person of a whole host of physiological and psychological benefits.

 

Music As Therapy

 

There have been vast amounts of research that demonstrates how melodies can affect our physical health, with music producing positive changes to our immune, endocrine and neuropeptide systems. Our mental health, too, benefits greatly, from music, and many therapists use it to help sufferers cope with PTSD, bi polar, anxiety and more. There is even research that music can help us process speech.

 

Beyond the notes that we sing along with, there are other sounds, deeper waves that vibrate through our brains. Called binaural beats, they include beta waves that promote alertness, alpha for relaxation, and theta for a healing and rejuvenating sleep. We are not always aware of these when we listen to a piece of music, but often they affect our minds, and are especially prevalent in classical works, smooth jazz and so-called trance music.

 

Since hearing aids have traditionally focused on speech, their ability to cater to music listeners has fallen on the wayside. Earlier models were woefully inadequate to truly tackle the issue. Many of us will vividly remember the screeching, tinny noise imposed by early models. On top of it all, they were often frustratingly difficult to operate.

 

Thankfully, technology has since come a long way. Modern hearing aids include an in-built option that is specifically targeted for music. Once a melody is identified, the device will optimise itself to produce richer and more vibrant sound.

 

Indeed, hearing aids are becoming so advanced that even professional musicians are able to use them in their work in ways that were previously thought impossible. Higher-grade products can be optimised for stage performance.

What this shows is that we are yet to grasp the full potential of this inspiring technology. Hearing aids are no longer over-promising and under-delivering, but providing life-changing results to people of all ages.

 

Looking further into the future, just like smartphones, hearing aid gadgets will become increasingly multi-functional. For example, some companies are testing products that can provide real-time translation in hundreds of languages.

 

For now, as long as the hearing aid is of excellent quality and fitted by a qualified audiologist, people affected by hearing loss can listen to their favourite music with the same clarity as anyone else.  

 

The writer is the Founder of The Gadget Nerds, a group of experts dedicated to reviewing the latest technological products on the market. We provide accurate, up to date and objective advice on all things technology to help you make informed choices.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin