Hearing management

Updated 13 December 2017

Musicians have better memory, hearing as they age

Lifelong musical training appears to have advantages in at least two important functions known to decline with age - memory and the ability to hear speech in noise.

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Music hath charms to protect the aging brain: that's the finding of a study by Northwestern University researchers who compared adults aged 45 to 65 with and without musical experience.

"Lifelong musical training appears to confer advantages in at least two important functions known to decline with age - memory and the ability to hear speech in noise," study co-author Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University's School of Communication, said.

She and her colleagues found that the 18 musicians in the study performed much better on tests of auditory memory and the ability to hear speech in noisy settings compared to the 19 non-musicians.

The study findings were published in the journal PLoS One.

Musicians have fine-tuned hearing

"Difficulty hearing speech in noise is among the most common complaints of older adults, but age-related hearing loss only partially accounts for this impediment that can lead to social isolation and depression," Kraus noted. "It's well known that adults with virtually the same hearing profile can differ dramatically in their ability to hear speech in noise."

Music training "fine-tunes" the nervous system, she explained.

"Sound is the stock in trade of the musician in much the same way that a painter of portraits is keenly attuned to the visual attributes of the paint that will convey his or her subject," Kraus added.

"If the materials that you work with are sound, then it is reasonable to suppose that all of your faculties involved with taking it in, holding it in memory and relating physically to it should be sharpened," she added. "Music experience bolsters the elements that combat age-related communication problems."


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

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Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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