Links between music and speech rhythms have long been documented, with digital hearing-devices and imaging technologies bringing new insights to how we interpret these rhythms in everyday activities – including reading.
Music “Is” Language
This collection of links starts by explaining how music appreciation sessions for children that mix music with movement, can improve auditory-language skills, with more evidence that “having an ear for music” provides a defined link between music and language ability.
Rhythm And Reading
“Rhythm is inherently a part of music and language,” says Prof. Nina Kraus, at Northwestern University.
It may be that musical training, with emphasis on rhythmic skills, exercises the auditory-system, leading to strong sound-to-meaning associations that are so essential in learning to read.
Based on previous studies into reading ability and the consistency of the brain’s response to sound, Kraus explained these new findings show hearing is a common basis for these associations. The next research frontier is to optimise digital hearing-aids and cochlear implants to better interpret music.
Translating Inflections And Emotional Tones
Pitch and melody in musical tones is tricky for hearing-device wearers to decipher. However cochlear-device researchers are working to improve digital sound-processing algorithms on the basis that optimisation for music may translate into inflections and emotional tones for speech.
Hearing-device wearers can feel intense emotions on accessing ‘new’ musical tones, with researchers at the University of Washington exploring how wearers can tell differences between musical instruments. Best of all, outcomes from this research may improve speech-perception in noise.
Two final frontiers for scientists exploring digital-access to music are pitch and timbre, with the latter more difficult to interpret as two instruments will sound different when playing the same note. With the benefit of new magnetic imaging technologies, looking inside brains may just help.
While this new magneto-encephalography will explore (early) language acquisition with cochlear implants, researchers still explore how speech perception can be improved for tonal languages and for music appreciation.
Music: A Hidden Key For Breakthroughs?
Ultimately, scientists believe multi-disciplinary testing of sound perception with implants, in varied contexts and concepts, will increase breakthroughs in understanding how human brains perceive sound with these devices.
- Music Therapy for children who are deaf and hard of hearing
- Music Has Educational Benefits For Deaf Children
- Interview With A Researcher Into Music Teaching
- Children Learn Language Through Dance (Heuser Hearing Academy)
- Dance Programme Benefits Children With Hearing Issues
- CI Surgeon’s TED Talk: Helping His Patients Hear Music
- Music: A Key To Unlocking Your Child’s Potential