There’s an old saying – that music is the medicine of the mind. Now there’s research to back that up – specifically that musical training bolsters the aging brain. In one study, Northwestern University researchers compared adults aged 45 to 65 with and without musical experience.
They found that lifelong musical training appears to help with at least two important functions known to decline with age — memory and the ability to hear speech in noise. Researchers found that on those tests, the 18 musicians in the study performed much better than the 19 non-musicians.
A second Canadian study also finds older musicians have a significant hearing advantage over non musicians. Lead author Benjamin Zendel discovered that years of playing music may protect musicians’ ability to process what they hear as they age.
Zendel is a researcher with the University of Montreal’s Brams Institute. His study is published in the Journal Psychology and Aging.