Audiologists Claim Instruments Can Help Your Hearing

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Published: 15 Jan 2015      

According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, a number of top medical professionals are encouraging children to play musical instruments, especially in cases where the child is hard of hearing. Contrary to the popular belief playing an instrument can actually be beneficial to a child with hearing issues, rather than causing further harm, according to a recent study.

Apparently it can help in situations where there is a large amount of noise, such as parties, and the effects aren'y just limited to children. In fact Nina Kraus, who is the professor of neurobiology, physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University, points out the playing an instrument can help in this situation, particularly in regards to distinguishing specific sounds and reducing the sense of isolation that some hearing impaired people suffer from at such events.

The study, which was actually started in 2013, saw Professor Kraus run an experiment with 37 people, 18 of whom were musicians and all of whom suffered from some form of hearing issue. She monitored a variety of electrical impulses and signals transmitted from the nerves to brain of each participant while carrying out her tests, which involved placing them in a noisy environment.

The study, which will be of special interest to Audiologists, was eventually published in the medical journal Hearing Research and seemed to suggest that those who play an instrument regularly are better at detecting individual sounds with a backdrop of constant noise.

Dr Kraus commented: "Part of what you're doing as a musician is listening for meaning, harmonies and the sound of your instrument. Musicians outperform non-musicians in remembering what they've heard, and this skill is needed to hear in noisy environments."

Though each of the musicians who participated in the trial had been playing since childhood, Professor Kraus sees no reason why the same effect won't be had on people who take up an instrument later on in life as well.

Vicki Kirwin, who works with the National Deaf Children's Society and is a specialist audiologist, commented further on the findings, stating that the most important step is finding an instrument with a pitch the user can hear before adding: "There's a myth that deaf people can't hear music, therefore no one tries to get them involved.

"Learning music is good for communication, language from learning lyrics, emotional development and interaction."

The National Deaf Children's Society are attempting to encourage even more children to take up an instrument in an effort to both help them with their hearing and also to simply have a little fun. Find out more on their website at ndcs.org.uk/music

 

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