Health gem


If you do one thing this week . . . encourage your kids to learn music

Most of us listen to music for pleasure, but learning how to play an instrument in youth and sticking with it could have benefits for hearing speech in later life, according to a new study.

The research, carried out at Northwestern University in the US, involved a group of 18 people, aged 45-65, who had trained with a musical skill from at or before age nine and had consistently played through their lives, and 19 controls who were not musically trained or had fewer than three years of training.

The musician group showed greater ability to detect speech against background noise, a skill that often declines with age.

“The results presented here indicate that older adults with extensive musical backgrounds are better equipped to deal with the auditory perceptual demands of real-world situations,” write the authors in PLoS Onethis month.