Scientists Say: Amusia

This is the scientific term for tone-deafness

Many people who are amusic — or tone deaf — don’t enjoy music because they can’t hear the tune. 

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Amusia (noun, “A-MUSE-ee-ah”)

Amusia is commonly known as tone-deafness. This is a brain disorder where people can’t tell one note from another. They can’t recognize a tune, either. Many people think they have amusia, but most do not. Only about one in 25 people — or four percent — are truly tone-deaf.  

In a sentence

People who are tone-deaf can’t hear a tune, but there is nothing wrong with their ears, and scientists still aren’t sure where the problem lies in the brain.

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amusia  Commonly called tone-deafness, this is a brain disorder where people are unable to tell one note from another, to recognize tunes or to remember music they have heard before.

Bethany is the staff writer at Science News for Students. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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