I thought this was very interesting and wanted to share this with my readers.
One of the consistent themes throughout the conference was the connection between music therapy and hearing. Nina Kraus, PhD, shared evidence that music training strengthens the brain's sound processing mechanisms and improves listeners’ ability to understand speech in noisy environments—work that we have highlighted in previous “Hearing Matters http://bit.ly/2LG2Oyo” columns in The Hearing Journal. Of special interest were two clinical trials showing that community- or school-based music programs result in these neurobiological gains (Neuroscientist. 2016 Jun 9. pii: 1073858416653593).
Another theme was the strong connections between hearing, thinking, and moving. World-renowned soprano Nancy Gustafson spoke about Songs by Heart, a program she developed that provides interactive and therapeutic musical care for people with dementia. This project was inspired by her personal experience of caring for her mother with Alzheimer's disease; Gustafson was astonished to discover that singing together brought her mother back to awareness. Today, she is implementing this program nationally, engaging patients with classics from the American songbook. Noting the connection between hearing loss in older adults and early cognitive decline, audiologists might play a role in the early identification of a patient's risk of cognitive difficulties and recommend music therapy as a means to strengthen cognitive abilities