Zia Hassan

Long Term Exposure To Music

I’ve long felt that music has had a profound effect on who I am. It’s not so much the type of music I listen to, but that I listen to it so intently.

I’ve learned to love so many different kinds of music. In my 20’s, they were almost like phases. I went through an ambient music phase, an opera phase, a classical phase, an experimental phase…

But I’ve always wondered what long term effect all this music has had on my brain.

I remember being told, a few times in my life, that it feels like my earbuds/headphones are surgically attached to my ears. And this might be true. Ever since I got headphones at the age of 4 or 5, I’ve poured hours and hours of music into my brain without much thought. And even before headphones, I was spinning vinyl records at age 3.

It turns out that a Stanford study found that the more that people listen to music, the better their memories are. This lines up with what I know about myself. I have one of the best memories among the people I know. Sometimes it scares people how much I remember. I haven’t read the study fully, but I do know that I tend to tie memories and music together. I can listen to a song that I haven’t heard in years and remember the last place I heard it. Where I was, what I was wearing, who was with me, etc.

Another study looked at the language skills of those who are exposed to lots of music. There are connections between language and music. It makes sense that I’m a writer, and that I feel natural when I’m speaking to a crowd. Musicality teaches rhythm and prosody, and those are also really important when speaking and writing.

I can’t do anything about my addiction to music. It’s permanent. But music is one drug I am happy to submit to.