Music training improves speech-in-noise perception: Longitudinal evidence from a community-based music program

Jessica Slater, Erika Skoe, Dana L. Strait, Samantha O'Connell, Elaine Thompson, Nina Kraus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Music training may strengthen auditory skills that help children not only in musical performance but in everyday communication. Comparisons of musicians and non-musicians across the lifespan have provided some evidence for a "musician advantage" in understanding speech in noise, although reports have been mixed. Controlled longitudinal studies are essential to disentangle effects of training from pre-existing differences, and to determine how much music training is necessary to confer benefits. We followed a cohort of elementary school children for 2 years, assessing their ability to perceive speech in noise before and after musical training. After the initial assessment, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one group began music training right away and completed 2 years of training, while the second group waited a year and then received 1 year of music training. Outcomes provide the first longitudinal evidence that speech-in-noise perception improves after 2 years of group music training. The children were enrolled in an established and successful community-based music program and followed the standard curriculum, therefore these findings provide an important link between laboratory-based research and real-world assessment of the impact of music training on everyday communication skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Sep 5 2015


  • Auditory
  • Education
  • Learning
  • Listening
  • Longitudinal
  • Music
  • Speech-in-noise perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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