Successful speech understanding in noisy environments hinges on factors that extend beyond the ear, including cognitive abilities and the integrity of sound processing in the brain. Musical training is a robust approach to strengthen these factors—and converging evidence shows that individuals with musical training hear better in noisy environments than their non-musician peers (Hear Res. 2017;352:49).
As we’ve discussed in previous columns in The Hearing Journal, hearing is connected to feeling, thinking, and moving—so the emotional, cognitive, and sensorimotor benefits of musical training could cascade to provide further reinforcement for hearing skills beyond their broader health benefits (Hearing Journal. 2017;70:52; Trends Cogn Sci. 2015;19:642). Ongoing research suggests musical training as a strategy to supplement amplification and aural rehabilitation to improve hearing health in older adults.