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The mother tongue influences the hearing ability

Finns have 'better hearing' than people of other nationalities, since the diversity of sound environments of their native language enhances their auditory processing.



Our brain is responsible for converting the impulses that are received by the ears into logical and understandable sounds. Also, the brain  has the ability to discriminate or select those relevant sounds that are heard in the background, and can even amplify the volume of our own  voice . That is, this member acts as the great sound filter of humans .

It is demonstrated that the auditory system of the brain is exercised with exposure to different sound environments such as music training or  native language .

At the University of Helsinki (Finland) they have focused on the interaction effects of these two environments in the central auditory processing, which allows the agreement between hearing level and hearing. Therefore, in addition to detecting sound  through the ear, we have to correctly process that sound information.

In the  research , the hearing abilities of people with different linguistic and musical backgrounds have been compared . The objective has been to detect discrimination thresholds in three modalities: intensity , frequency and duration . In these analyzes, a self-assessment questionnaire on musical sophistication was also used.

The results show the following: the Finns reflect an advantage in the processing of the auditory duration with respect to the ones of German speech  . The musical experience of these has been associated with a greater capacity for frequency discrimination . The latter refers to the property  that allows two sounds to be distinguished simultaneously.

“We find that Finnish speakers show an advantage in brain stem duration processing, unlike German speakers, which may be because the  Finnish language includes long and short sounds that determine the meaning of words. and this is a perfect training for the brain, so Finnish speakers are very sensitive to sound times, “says study author Caitlin Dawson.

In addition, the musicians  who speak Mandarin showed better discrimination behaviorboth in frequency and duration. As with the Finnish example, the  Mandarin Chinese language has tones that also determine the meaning of the words.

Dawson adds that “the perceptual effects of musical expertise (ability or experience) were not reflected in brain stem responses in Finnish or Mandarin speakers.” This may be because language is an earlier and essential skill than music. , and native speakers are experts in their own language. ”

The results suggest that the musical experience does not improve all auditory characteristics equally for all language speakers . The  phonological patterns of the native language can modulate the symptoms of improvement of the musical experience in the processing of specific characteristics.


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