Music can boost your memory—small children learn that when they sing "ABCD" to a Mozart tune to memorize the alphabet. Past research has found that Alzheimer's patients have an easier time remembering new information when it's set to music (even more so than healthy adults do), and now there's another piece of research adding a piece to the puzzle of how music and memory interact.
Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered that older adults with long-term musical training process certain types of sound more quickly than adults without musical experience. In fact, there auditory processing was just as fast as that of younger people with musical training. The scientists made the discovery by monitoring brain activity while the study subjects were exposed to speech sounds.
Though the research is preliminary, it indicates that older adults could possibly be trained to overcome hearing loss and improve speech processing and communication ability. Certainly nobody is suggesting that you start taking music lessons for this reason alone, but if you were considering taking up a musical hobby anyway, maybe take this news as the tipping point you need to get started.
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