Listening To Music Or Singing To Babies During Pregnancy May Increase The Ability Of Newborns To Encode Speech Sounds

gpointstudio - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Babies may be born with a stronger ability to neuronally encode speech sounds if pregnant women play music via loudspeakers or sing to their children during pregnancy, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Barcelona, the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute (IRSJD), and the Institute of Neurosciences of the UB (UBNeuro).

This finding and more were recently published in Developmental Science and aimed to shed new light on the impacts of prenatal musical exposure.

The study specifically focused on language stimuli using frequency-following response (FFR)– which is a “non-invasive index of the fidelity of sound encoding in the brain.”

And the researchers ultimately found that during the last weeks of pregnancy, musical exposure is linked to the improved encoding of sound compounds that are low-frequency– which might improve newborn children’s perception of tone.

FFR is conditioned by a range of language and speech impairments. In the past, it has also been found that FFR is affected by the prenatal acoustic environment and the fetal environment.

That’s why the team was interested in using FFR as a biomarker to help detect language impairment risk. Additionally, they hope FFR could be used to establish earlier preventative measures.

In the study, the team compared the FFR recordings of 60 healthy newborns– who were between just 12 and 72 hours old. Of this group, 29 newborns were also prenatally exposed to music daily; meanwhile, 31 newborns were not.

The researchers specifically analyzed the newborns’ encephalogram recordings– looking at two different speech stimuli known as the “/da/” stimulus and the “/oa/” stimulus.

The “/da/” stimulus is most frequently used in newborn and FFR research; meanwhile, the “/oa/” stimulus allows for the analysis of frequency coding that newborns were exposed to while in the womb.

gpointstudio – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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