Were you fortunate enough to learn to play a musical instrument at least by the age of nine? (Thank a parent or teacher!) And have you continued to play the instrument throughout the years?(Thank yourself!) If so, you may just have taken a giant step toward reducing the impact of age-related auditory decline. According to researchers at Northwestern University, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand speech against a background of noise as you age. Their study demonstrated, however, that older musicians exhibited enhanced speech-in-noise perception as compared with nonmusicians. So keep playing that instrument! And if you never learned to play an instrument, start now. You may not receive the same benefit had you started before the age of nine, but, hey, you may help to age-proof your brain in other ways.