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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hearing and music in dementia

  • Author(s): Johnson, Julene K
  • Chow, Maggie L
  • et al.

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Music is a complex acoustic signal that relies on a number of different brain and cognitive processes to create the sensation of hearing. Changes in hearing function are generally not a major focus of concern for persons with a majority of neurodegenerative diseases associated with dementia, such as Alzheimer disease (AD). However, changes in the processing of sounds may be an early, and possibly preclinical, feature of AD and other neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of this chapter is to review the current state of knowledge concerning hearing and music perception in persons who have a dementia as a result of a neurodegenerative disease. The review focuses on both peripheral and central auditory processing in common neurodegenerative diseases, with a particular focus on the processing of music and other non-verbal sounds. The chapter also reviews music interventions used for persons with neurodegenerative diseases.

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