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The University of Southampton

Research project: The Temporal Processing and Dichotic Listening of Musicians versus Non-Musicians

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Do musicians have superior auditory processing and can music be used to enhance auditory processing?

It has been proposed that the auditory processing of musicians is superior to that on non-musicians and that music training may be beneficial for those with auditory processing disorder. We have conducted a preliminary study and the results were presented as a poster presentation at the American Academy of Audiology Annual Conference (C)APD Symposium Day, March 2012, in Boston. An article is currently being finalised for publication and a PhD student recruited to address this topic further.

The Temporal Processing and Dichotic Listening of Musicians versus Non-Musicians
P. Firth and N. Campbell

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether auditory processing, specifically temporal processing and dichotic listening performance is enhanced for musicians in comparison to non-musicians. Although studies have found structural brain differences and enhanced auditory processing abilities for musicians suggesting improved inter-hemispheric transfer, no studies have utilised validated auditory processing tests traditionally used by audiologists. Ten musicians and ten non-musicians with normal hearing participated in two tests of dichotic listening and three tests of temporal processing. Musicians performed significantly better than non-musicians on all tests of temporal processing and on one test of dichotic listening (dichotic consonant-vowel test). There was no significant difference in performance on the three pair dichotic digits test. Non-musicians were found to have a significant right ear advantage for both the dichotic listening tests but there were no differences in the ear performance for musicians, demonstrating improved left ear performance and suggesting enhanced inter-hemispheric transfer. These findings suggest that intensive music experience may enhance auditory processing.

Related research groups

Bioengineering Science

Preliminary results suggest that music may be a powerful intervention tool for people with auditory processing difficulties



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