Document Type


Publication Date

July 2014

Publication Title

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America




Musicianship confers enhancements to hearing at nearly all levels of the auditory system from periphery to percept. Musicians' superior psychophysical abilities are particularly evident in spectral discrimination and noise-degraded listening tasks, achieving higher perceptual sensitivity than their nonmusician peers. Greater spectral acuity implies that musicianship may increase auditory filter selectivity. This hypothesis was directly tested by measuring both forward- and simultaneous-masked psychophysical tuning curves. Sharper filter tuning (i.e., higher Q10) was observed in musicians compared to nonmusicians. Findings suggest musicians' pervasive listening benefits may be facilitated, in part, by superior spectral processing/decomposition as early as the auditory periphery.


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This article appeared in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, volume 136, issue 1, 2014, and may be found at