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Musicians less likely to suffer age-related hearing problems

Posted On: Sept. 27, 2011

Washington, Sept 14 (ANI): Lifelong musicians experience less hearing problems in old age than non-musicians, Canadian researchers have found.

The study led by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute in Toronto sought to see if lifelong musicians were less prone to the hearing problems prevalent in the elderly, who often report having difficulty understanding speech through background noise, what scientists have dubbed the "cocktail party problem."

Part of this difficulty is due to an age-related decrease in the ability to detect and discriminate acoustic information from the environment.

"What we found was that being a musician may contribute to better hearing in old age by delaying some of the age-related changes in central auditory processing," said said lead investigator Benjamin Rich Zendel at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.

"This advantage widened considerably for musicians as they got older when compared to similar-aged non-musicians," he added.

The study suggests that lifelong musicianship mitigates age-related changes in the brains of musicians, which is probably due to musicians using their auditory systems at a high level on a regular basis.

The study was recently published in the journal Psychology and Aging. (ANI)

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