The Effects of Musical Training on Auditory Acuity in Musicians

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


The Ohio State University

Research Projects

Organizational Units

Journal Issue


Absolute pitch, also known as "perfect pitch," refers to the rare ability of musicians to identify the pitch of a single musical note from long-term memory without acoustic reference (Hsieh & Saberi, 2009). This skill is found only among a small population of people, mainly trained musicians. An earlier study by Kraus et al. (2009) suggests a correlation between years of musical experience and speech-in-noise ability. The current study aims to use a more objective test of musical ability, an interval recognition test, to see if the same relationship found by Kraus et al.(2009) holds true. In order to investigate this, a series of tests were administered. These include pure tone audiometry, an interval recognition test, the Quick Speech-in-Noise Test (QSIN;), and the Hearing-in-Noise Test (HINT). An audiogram was used to document normal hearing, followed by an interval recognition test. This test consists of several musical note sequences, after which subjects are required to respond with the appropriate interval, notes, or number of semitones. The QSIN and HINT followed, in which subjects repeat sentences masked by a multi-talker babble and background noise respectively. It was hypothesized that more experienced musicians and musicians who play by ear will be able to respond more accurately than the less practiced musicians or note reading musicians because of their listening experience. Results showed no relationship between years of experience and how well musicians perform on tasks of speech-in-noise perception. The findings do, however, suggest that musicians who play by ear have better interval recognition abilities than note-reading musicians or those who do both.



Auditory Acuity in Musicians, Speech in Noise Perception in Musicians, Interval Recognition in Musicians, Absolute pitch in Musicians