Learning to Listen: Neurological Evidence

Neurological evidence indicates we not only learn to listen, but actually tune our inner ear response based on neural feedback from the brain. We literally are able to actively tune our own hearing.  

When we listen for a flute for example, this is more than a conscious decision to focus on the flute. This creates neural impulses that actively tune ear cells to better hear the flute.  

This whole video is fascinating, but I want to get you hooked right away so check this out:  

“Selectively changing what we’re listening to in response to the content. Literally reaching out to listen for things.

Here’s another good one. Everyone can hear subtle details about five times as good as predicted by modeling. Some of us however can hear 50 times as good. The difference? Years spent learning to listen closely! https://youtu.be/SuSGN8yVrcU?t=1956

Learning to play music really does help improve your listening.  

This video is chock full of neurphysiological evidence that by studying, learning and practice you can develop the listening skills to hear things you literally could not hear before. Our hearing evolved millennia before we invented music. We are only just now beginning to scratch at the potential evolution has bestowed on us.

OP, thank you so much for this post. Adding it to my library and will learn from this. FYI, I've been having a back and forth with Ethan Winer and he keeps *insisting* that if his list of measurements show no difference between cables, then anything perceived is either part of a scam or placebo. Everyone who claims to hear a difference, he says, is a dupe or a shill. Everyone. I keep telling him that because the brain/perceptual systems are so complex, that he should not be so sure that he has the final word on what/how to measure for -- that he has to consider the complicated listener-perceiver side of the equation. He's a hedgehog; he won't budge. Ethan aside, this area of research is fascinating. Thank you for sharing this. If you ever find more, please share or DM me.


Wow this is very important(NOT).

Once again, you parade your lack of curiosity as a virtue. (Hint: it's a vice.)


individuals also differ in their innate (i.e., genetic) ability to discriminate different frequencies.

Interesting! How different are we? What's the range? References if you have any, please!
Post removed 
Not too long ago I saw an article in a scientific journal (misplaced as I am wont to do lately) which spoke entirely about reducing/eliminating tinnitus by training the brain to not process the errant signal it is receiving.

Good post MC, I will certainly watch it.


Which is why I constantly warn people off of listening to their gear. You get to a point where you can hear the dust settle on your cables. What good is it for your enjoyment? You’ve become a dust detector.

Best to buy good gear and then try to retune your ear/brain to music. Take courses in music theory or music history and stop chasing down the next big tweak.

This is also why I simply cannot listen to gear in a room with poor acoustics.  I don't have that ear/brain filter many of you do.  Good for you. :)  So for my ear/brain musical needs good room acoustics are essential.