Music Can Prevent Age-Related Cognitive Decline

According to researchers at the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University, Illinois, there is exciting new research that shows how being a lifelong practicing musician can make the brain healthier.  Nina Kraus, an auditory neuroscientist at the Northwestern University School of Communication, is the Principal Investigator for the evidence outlined below.

  • Musicians have stronger auditory cognitive skills across the lifespan. Strengthened auditory cognitive functions may contribute to stronger speech-sound processing. Kraus & Chandrasekaran (2010) Nature Reviews Neuroscience
  • The more you play, the more you profit across the lifespan!  There is a correlation showing that as the total number of years practiced increases, the musicians showed increased scores in the following areas:  attention, working memory,  hearing speech in noise, and neural speech-sound processing. Strait & Kraus (2013) Hearing Research
  • Music training affects sound processing across the lifespan.  (this study measures how reliably is the brain processing the sound) Skoe and Kraus (2013) Frontiers
  • Older adult musicians have superior hearing in noiseauditory cognitive skills -even musicians with hearing loss. This study compared musicians, non-musicans and musicians with hearing loss.                                                Parbery-Clark et al. (2011)  PLoS ONE
  • Musicians across the lifespan are better at hearing speech in noise! Strait et al (2012) Brain & Language
  • A lifetime of playing an instrument protects musicians from age-related neural declines.  In this study, musicians had a faster neural response than non-musicians.  Anderson et al. (2012) Journal of Neuroscience