Studies show that bilingual children are less easily distracted in noisy classrooms than monolingual students, according to the BBC.
Study co-author Roberto Filippi, a senior lecturer in psychology at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, said the results show "the importance of learning a second language early."
Filippi also said the "acquisition of two languages in early childhood provides a beneficial effect on cognitive development."
The study consisted of 40 children, ages seven to 10, from two junior schools in Cambridge, England. Half the children spoke only English, while the other half spoke English plus another language, including Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Armenian, Bengali, Polish, Russian and Portuguese.
The groups had an average age of 8.8 and their parents had at least an undergraduate degree.
The students were shown pictures of two different animals while a recorded statement by a mix of male and female voices described one animal doing "a bad action" to the other, like "The cow is biting the horse," the article explained.
Three tests were done without interruption. The next set of tests repeated the format with the addition of a second voice talking over the first. The interrupting voice spoke Greek, a language none of the students knew, in the third set of tests.
By the third set of tests, the children that spoke more than one language got 63 percent of the answers correct while the exclusively English-speaking group had 51 percent accuracy. As the students got older, the difference in percentages was greater.
"The observation that the ability to control interference improves with age, but only within the bilingual group, is a remarkable finding," Filippi said, according to the BBC. Filippi noted that grade schools "are remarkably noisy, therefore the ability to filter out auditory interference is particularly important."