The findings could have implications for senior living centres and people who prefer to hold meetings away from the office."Older adults have trouble ignoring irrelevant noises and concentrating," explained Audrey Duarte from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The researchers challenged younger and older adults to listen to music while trying to remember names. College-aged participants had no problems - the music did not affect their performance. But the older adults remembered 10 percent fewer names when listening to background music or musical rain as compared to silence.

The study tested the effects of music on associative memory, which includes the ability to put a face with a name and remember it."Both age groups agreed that the music was distracting," said lead researcher Sarah Reaves from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"But only the older adults struggled while it was playing in the background," Reaves pointed out. The study could help workers in assisted living centres as they plan activities, Reaves noted.

"They should be mindful of their surroundings. Maybe employees should turn off music during learning activities or hold them in a quiet room," she added.

The study appeared in the journal The Gerontologist.


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