World Music Day

French Minister of Culture Jack Lang inaugurated World Music Day (Fête de la Musique, also known as Make Music Day) in 1982 to promote music performance and appreciation.1 It quickly spread worldwide and is now celebrated in many countries – including Australia.

Lang recognised music’s cultural importance, but we’ve also discovered that listening to and playing music can improve cognitive functioning, happiness, learning, quality of life and well-being.2 

Music activates most of the brain, starting with the auditory cortex. It also synchronises the parts of the brain involved in emotion, various memory regions, and even the motor system. 

All these activations keep your brain’s networks and pathways strong. Participation in social activities is the only other situation that activates so much of the brain at the same time. 


Enjoying Music With Hearing Loss

Using hearing aids is perhaps the best way to mitigate hearing loss’s impact on your ability to enjoy music. Researchers have found that hearing aids improve musicality, enjoyment of music and word recognition.3  

You might find that the best results for improving music enjoyment come from adjusting your music system’s equaliser settings, whether the hi-fi in your lounge room or the smartphone in your pocket.

Check the apps you use to stream music – most will have an equaliser included, similarly to any system you may use at home. You can also download apps to your computer or mobile device to assist with this. 

In most cases, the key is to make vocals more prominent and instruments less so.4 That most likely means reducing low frequencies (20 Hz–250 Hz and 250 Hz–500 Hz) while boosting middle frequencies (500 Hz–2 kHz and 2 kHz–4 kHz) and high frequencies (4 kHz and up).5  Make incremental changes until you find a mix that maximises your enjoyment.

If you’re heading out to a music performance, wearing hearing protection, such as earplugs or earphones, is an excellent idea. You can even get earplugs designed for music listening that filter specific frequencies and attenuate the highs and lows.

Take care when using a mobile device for music. Keep the volume down and consider investing in a good-quality pair of headphones; noise-cancelling models can be particularly beneficial if you have hearing loss.


Don't Just Listen - Play (and Sing)!

While listening to music is beneficial, playing music has further benefits, such as maintaining listening skills and mitigating age-related cognitive decline.6 Learning to play changes your brainwaves and can help the brain compensate for injuries or symptoms of decline that hinder your daily task performance. 

Singing also has benefits, including stress reduction and mental alertness improvements. Research suggests that singing causes neurotransmitters to make new connections and improves the ability to distinguish speech from background noise.


Giving Involved in World Music Day

World Music Day is a global celebration, and there are many ways to get involved. Spend time listening to music – not just as a ‘soundtrack’ to other activities, but with care and attention as an active listener.

Sing a little, play if you know how, or check for World Music Day events near you.7 If you’re concerned you may have hearing loss or aren’t enjoying your music as much as you used to, why not visit your local Connect Hearing clinic? The friendly and professional team will help you get your groove back in no time.


References:

  1. NDTV [17 June 2022, World Music Day 2022: Here Is The Date, History And Greetings To Mark The Day, NDTV, accessed 28 May 2024. 
  2. Harvard Health Blog [7 October 2020], Why is music good for the brain?, Harvard Health Publishing, accessed 28 May 2024.  
  3. The Hearing Journal [15 January 2024], Improving Music Appreciation and Enjoyment in Hearing Aid Users, LWW Journals, accessed 28 May 2024.
  4. Neuroscience News [22 August 2023], Fine-Tuning Music for the Ears of the Hard-of-Hearing, Neuroscience News, accessed 28 May 2024. 
  5. Unison Audio [17 May 2023], Vocal EQ Chart: The Ultimate Vocal EQ Cheat Sheet, Unison Audio, accessed 28 May 2024.
  6. HearingTracker [8 November 2017], Hearing Loss, Music, and Brain Health, Hearing Tracker, accessed 28 May 2024.
  7. Make Music Australia [2024], Join the worldwide celebration of music, Make Music Australia, accessed 28 May 2024.