What people with and without hearing loss want from music

Authors: Alinka Greasley1, Kai Siedenburg2, Christophe Lesimple3, Barry Gibbs4, Brad Ingrao5, Katherine Phipps6

1University of Leeds
2Department of Medical Physics and Acoustics, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
3Sonova AG
4University of Liverpool
5Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board
6University of Nottingham

Musical engagement, whether listening or performing, is highly prevalent in everyday life and plays a key role in health and wellbeing. Music is a pleasurable activity that can enhance mood, regulate emotions, help with activities and bring back memories. These functions tend to be similar despite individual variation in preference for musical genres and characteristics. For those with hearing loss, who may be hearing aid and/or cochlear implant users, music appreciation can be challenging. Research highlights difficulties with pitch and melodic perception, problems identifying instruments and lyrics, distortion and poor sound quality. This panel will critically discuss the key factors influencing music appreciation for those with and without hearing loss. After a brief discussion of motivations for engaging with music, the panel will consider the musical, listener and contextual factors that shape our responses to music and patterns of preference. The panellists, who have knowledge and expertise in music, performance, psychology, acoustics and audiology, will reflect on their own musical experiences and how these are shaped by musical contexts and changes in hearing. The discussion will broaden to assess how music experiences might be improved for those with hearing loss, considering hearing devices, technological innovation and clinical practice.