Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Does Making Music Turbo-Charge Your Hearing?

Wired recently posted an interesting article about research that shows that musicians can pick out conversation from noisy environments better than non-musicians. I guess the idea is that since musicians learn to deconstruct music into its individual parts when they listen to it, they are better able to do the same when listening to speech in loud places. I suppose a bit of touring will give you ample practice at that, too. This definitely doesn't apply to me, though. I have a terrible time hearing what people are saying to me in a loud club. Maybe I'm not actually a musician!


Anu said...

Most important: Protect your hearing in loud environments, especially clubs. Wear earplugs. You can get good ones for $10 from Etymotic.com - they're nearly as good as the custom fit ones that cost 10x and you won't freak out when you leave them behind somewhere.

I think the essence of the study mentioned in the WIRED article is simple - musicians are more MINDFUL listeners. We pay attention more, and train ourselves to be careful listeners.

Like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it.

epiphanius said...

Haven't looked at the study, but I think it might be the case that people who are very tuned in to sound tend to become musicians, rather than the other way round. Both my dad and I had pretty good hearing (the ability to pick up a conversation, e.g.)Only I have attempted to become a musician, but he was a huge music fan.