A new Canadian study suggests years of practicing music may protect a person’s ability to process sound as he or she gets older.
The study compared non-musicians to both professional and amateur ones.
It found that the task of listening to speech and tuning out background noise is easier for older musicians than it is for older people who don’t play an instrument.
The research was published Tuesday in the journal “Psychology and Aging.”
The lead author is Benjamin Zendel, of the University of Montreal’s Brams Institute.
The work backs up findings published earlier this year by researchers at Northwestern University near Chicago.
The head of that research, Nina Kraus, said that in performing music over many years, people build up the part of the brain that processes sound, and are slower to lose that ability as they get older.