Short-Term Music Training and Auditory Processing in Older Adults

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    University of Southern California
Updated on 25 January 2021


Most adults experience some degree of hearing loss by age 60. Hearing aids can improve some aspects of peripheral hearing but the loss of the ability to clearly perceive speech in noisy environments remains to be a significant deficit and often reduces life quality in older adults. Long-term music training has been shown to enhance auditory processing and specifically benefit speech-in-noise perception. It is not clear however whether short-term participation in a musically engaged activity can benefit such abilities in older adults. The proposed study aims to investigate whether short-term participation in a weekly community choir can improve speech in noise perception and its neural substrates as measured by sensory auditory evoked potentials (ERPs) to speech stimuli in older adults with mild to moderate subjective hearing loss. Sixty participants, ages 50-65, will be recruited to partake in this study and will be randomly assigned to two groups: participants in the experimental group will join a weekly remote choir on an on-line platform (Zoom), for ten weeks, directed by a professionally trained conductor from USC Department of Choral Music. The group practice will be accompanied by individual singing lessons (online or CDs) for home practice. Participants in the control group will be provided with weekly remote mindfulness lessons also on an on-line platform. All participants will be assessed remotely pre and post intervention, with behavioral measures of speech in noise perception and probes assessing emotional well-being and life satisfaction. Changes in auditory measures and their neural correlates and overall quality of life will be compared between the groups. The findings from this study can provide preliminary data to support a larger study on the impact of music engagement in improving the lives of older adults.

Condition Music Education
Treatment Music Training - Choir participation
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03999606
SponsorUniversity of Southern California
Last Modified on25 January 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Is your age between 50 yrs and 65 yrs?
Gender: Male or Female
Do you have Music Education?
Do you have any of these conditions: Do you have Music Education??
Native English speaker with experience of subjective hearing loss
Normal IQs (standard score of >85) as measured by the two-subtest Abbreviated Wechsler's Adult Scale of Intelligence

Exclusion Criteria

Use of prescribed hearing aids
Sever hearing loss (thresholds of 60 and 95 dB)
Current diagnosis of neurological or psychiatric disorders
Impaired cognitive function (all participants will be screened with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Battery)
Clear my responses

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