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Musicians have a variety of perceptual and cortical specializations compared to non-musicians. Recent studies have shown that potentials evoked from primarily brainstem structures are enhanced in musicians, compared to non-musicians. Specifically, musicians have more robust representations of pitch periodicity and faster neural timing to sound onset when(More)
One of the benefits musicians derive from their training is an increased ability to detect small differences between sounds. Here, we asked whether musicians' experience discriminating sounds on the basis of small acoustic differences confers advantages in the subcortical differentiation of closely related speech sounds (e.g., /ba/ and /ga/),(More)
Musical training strengthens speech perception in the presence of background noise. Given that the ability to make use of speech sound regularities, such as pitch, underlies perceptual acuity in challenging listening environments, we asked whether musicians' enhanced speech-in-noise perception is facilitated by increased neural sensitivity to acoustic(More)
For children, learning often occurs in the presence of background noise. As such, there is growing desire to improve a child's access to a target signal in noise. Given adult musicians' perceptual and neural speech-in-noise enhancements, we asked whether similar effects are present in musically-trained children. We assessed the perception and subcortical(More)
A growing body of research suggests that cognitive functions, such as attention and memory, drive perception by tuning sensory mechanisms to relevant acoustic features. Long-term musical experience also modulates lower-level auditory function, although the mechanisms by which this occurs remain uncertain. In order to tease apart the mechanisms that drive(More)
Even in the quietest of rooms, our senses are perpetually inundated by a barrage of sounds, requiring the auditory system to adapt to a variety of listening conditions in order to extract signals of interest (e.g., one speaker's voice amidst others). Brain networks that promote selective attention are thought to sharpen the neural encoding of a target(More)
Human hearing depends on a combination of cognitive and sensory processes that function by means of an interactive circuitry of bottom-up and top-down neural pathways, extending from the cochlea to the cortex and back again. Given that similar neural pathways are recruited to process sounds related to both music and language, it is not surprising that the(More)
Much of our daily communication occurs in the presence of background noise, compromising our ability to hear. While understanding speech in noise is a challenge for everyone, it becomes increasingly difficult as we age. Although aging is generally accompanied by hearing loss, this perceptual decline cannot fully account for the difficulties experienced by(More)
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Musicians benefit from real-life advantages, such as a greater ability to hear speech in noise and to remember sounds, although the biological mechanisms driving such advantages remain undetermined. Furthermore, the extent to which these advantages are a consequence of musical training or innate characteristics that predispose a given individual to pursue(More)