Perceiving speech in noise (SIN) is important for health and well-being and decreases with age. Musicians show improved speech-in-noise abilities and reduced age-related auditory decline, yet it is unclear whether short term music engagement has similar effects. In this randomized control trial we used a pre-post design to investigate whether a 12-week music intervention in adults aged 50-65 without prior music training and with subjective hearing loss improves well-being, speech-in-noise abilities, and auditory encoding and voluntary attention as indexed by auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) in a syllable-in-noise task, and later AEPs in an oddball task. Age and gender-matched adults were randomized to a choir or control group. Choir participants sang in a 2-hr ensemble with 1-hr home vocal training weekly; controls listened to a 3-hr playlist weekly, attended concerts, and socialized online with fellow participants. From pre- to post-intervention, no differences between groups were observed on quantitative measures of well-being or behavioral speech-in-noise abilities. In the choir group, but not the control group, changes in the N1 component were observed for the syllable-in-noise task, with increased N1 amplitude in the passive condition and decreased N1 latency in the active condition. During the oddball task, larger N1 amplitudes to the frequent standard stimuli were also observed in the choir but not control group from pre to post intervention. Findings have implications for the potential role of music training to improve sound encoding in individuals who are in the vulnerable age range and at risk of auditory decline.