Enhanced speech perception in noise and cortical auditory evoked potentials in professional musicians

Kiriana Meha-Bettison, Mridula Sharma, Ronny Ibrahim, Pragati Rao Mandikal Vasuki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The current research investigated whether professional musicians outperformed non-musicians on auditory processing and speech-in-noise perception as assessed using behavioural and electrophysiological tasks. Design: Spectro-temporal processing skills were assessed using a psychoacoustic test battery. Speech-in-noise perception was measured using the Listening in Spatialised Noise – Sentences (LiSN-S) test and Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials (CAEPs) recorded to the speech syllable/da/presented in quiet and in 8-talker babble noise at 0, 5, and 10 dB signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Study sample: Ten professional musicians and 10 non-musicians participated in this study. Results: Musicians significantly outperformed non-musicians in the frequency discrimination task and low-cue condition of the LiSN-S test. Musicians’ N1 amplitude showed no difference between 5 dB and 0 dB SNR conditions while non-musicians showed significantly lower N1 amplitude at 0 dB SNR compared to 5 dB SNR. Brain-behaviour correlation for musicians showed a significant association between CAEPs at 5 dB SNR and the low-cue condition of the LiSN-S test at 30–70 ms. Time–frequency analysis indicated musicians had significantly higher alpha power desynchronisation in the 0 dB SNR condition indicating involvement of attention. Conclusions: Through the use of behavioural and electrophysiological data, the results provide converging evidence for improved speech recognition in noise in musicians.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-52
    Number of pages13
    JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
    Issue number1
    Early online date3 Oct 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


    • musicians
    • auditory processing
    • speech-in-noise perception
    • cortical auditory evoked potentials
    • alpha
    • theta
    • oscillations
    • event related spectral perturbations


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