A Music Listening Questionnaire for Hearing Aid Users
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
To date, very few studies have been conducted focusing on ratings of music and music listening experience of hearing aid (HA) users. This study aimed to collect more detailed and descriptive information via a questionnaire, on the music listening experience and ratings of musical sounds from postlingually deafened adults. The following hypotheses were posed: (i) ratings for music from HA users who have been assessed for a cochlear implant (HA-CI group) will be worse than those who have not been assessed for a CI (HA-NCI group); and (ii) HA users with a moderate or worse hearing loss (Moderate+ subgroup) will provide lower ratings for music than those with a mild hearing loss (Mild subgroup). A questionnaire by She (2008), was modified for this study, and subsequently called the University of Canterbury Music Listening Questionnaire – HA version (UCMLQ_HA). The questionnaire was divided into the following seven sections: music listening and music background, sound quality ratings, music styles, music preferences, music recognition, factors affecting music listening enjoyment, and a music training programme. Thirteen HA-CI recipients and 98 HA-NCI recipients returned the questionnaire. The HA-NCI group was divided into two subgroups: mild hearing loss (n = 51), and moderate or worse hearing loss (Moderate+; n = 47).
Essentially findings were consistent with hypothesis one, but only partially consistent with hypothesis two. The HA-CI group provided lower ratings for ‘pleasantness’ and ‘naturalness’ of instruments (p = 0.007), and found music styles to be less ‘pleasant’ (p < 0.001) than the HA-NCI group. For musical styles, the HA-CI group preferred solo performers whereas the HA-NCI group preferred groups of performers. In addition to ratings of music, the HA-CI group provided significantly lower ratings for music listening (p = 0.001), and overall music enjoyment (p = 0.021) than the HA-NCI group.
For the comparisons between the Mild and Moderate+ subgroups, the Mild subgroup found Instruments to sound significantly ‘less noisy’ (p < 0.001) and ‘less sharp’ (p < 0.001) than the Moderate+ subgroup. The Moderate+ subgroup provided higher ratings for overall enjoyment of listening to music with HAs than the Mild subgroup (p = 0.044). Both subgroups rated the drum kit (the lowest rated Instrument) to be significantly less pleasant and less natural than all other Instruments. It was also found that all musical styles were significantly more pleasant than Pop/Rock.
There were similarities between the groups for music preferences; the male singer was significantly preferred over female singers (p = 0.021), and low-pitched instruments were significantly preferred over high-pitched instruments (p = 0.04). Classical music was also selected as the style that sounded the best with their HAs and listened to the most often. Almost all of the respondents indicated that they would like music in general to sound it would to those with normal hearing (97.1%). Close to 30% indicated that they would be interested in an MTP and would like it to focus on a wide range of music and feature commonly known tunes. In addition, training sessions should consist of two 30 minute sessions per week.
Overall this study indicates that ratings of music differ with level of hearing loss to some degree. The general consensus was that music did not sound as they would expect it to sound to a person with normal hearing, and that respondents would like to enjoy listening to music more.