About 25 years ago, a researcher named Alfred Tomatis postulated that listening to Mozart’s compositions exercised the ear and promoted improvement of brain function. Since then, the concept has been applied, fairly sloppily, to all manner of rehabilitation efforts, and purveyors of the idea have promised everything from increased intelligence (no) to improvements in spatial-temporal reasoning (yes).

However, in recent years, the “Mozart effect” has become a general term that references music therapy. Music therapy has long been held as a beneficial means of helping both children and adults with developmental and cognitive delays. What we are now understanding is that those without developmental or cognitive issues can also benefit from music.

A number of auditory tasks can be improved by listing to music, such as auditory discrimination, hearing in noise, and working memory in children with cochlear implants.

If you wear hearing aids, take note: Music is free, easily available, and tons of fun.

Start slowly and keep the volume down. Listen to slow songs, such as ballads. Use familiar music to help you “fill in the gaps.” When you are comfortable with the slow stuff, increase the tempo. (Remember to keep the volume down!) The idea is that the brain’s ability to process speech at a certain speed is similar to its ability to follow a melody; this type of aural rehab might be a great and low-key way to train your brain. Remember: Just as you can’t lose weight by watching someone exercise, you also won’t receive much benefit unless you actually engage with and listen to the music. Try to listen for details like the bass or the tempo.

Turn it on and start dancing! Stay Vibrant!