Original Research

The influence of non-linear frequency compression on the perception of music by adults with a moderate to severe hearing loss: Subjective impressions

Marinda Uys, Lidia Pottas, Bart Vinck, Catherine Van Dijk
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 59, No 1 | a22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v59i1.22 | © 2012 Marinda Uys, Lidia Pottas, Bart Vinck, Catherine Van Dijk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2012 | Published: 04 December 2012

About the author(s)

Marinda Uys, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Lidia Pottas, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria; Callier Center, School of Behavioral & Brain Sciences, University of Texas, Dallas, Texas, USA; Ear Science Institute Australia, Subiaco, Australia, and Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery
Bart Vinck, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Catherine Van Dijk, Ear Institute, Queenswood, Pretoria, South Africa, and Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Objective: To date, the main direction in frequency-lowering hearing aid studies has been in relation to speech perception abilities. With improvements in hearing aid technology, interest in musical perception as a dimension that could improve hearing aid users’ quality of life has grown. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of non-linear frequency compression (NFC) on hearing aid users’ subjective impressions of listening to music.

Design & sample: A survey research design was implemented to elicit participants’ (N=40) subjective impressions of musical stimuli with and without NFC.

Results: The use of NFC significantly improved hearing aid users’ perception of the musical qualities of overall fidelity, tinniness and reverberance. Although participants preferred to listen to the loudness, fullness, crispness, naturalness and pleasantness of music with the use of NFC, these benefits were not significant.

Conclusion: The use of NFC can increase hearing aid users’ enjoyment and appreciation of music. Given that a relatively large percentage of hearing aid users express a loss of enjoyment of music, audiologists should not ignore the possible benefits of NFC, especially if one takes into account that previous research indicates speech perception benefits with this technology.


Keywords

Hearing loss, music perception, non-linear frequency compression, hearing aids, cochlear dead regions, subjective impression

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Crossref Citations

1. Harmonic Frequency Lowering
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doi: 10.1177/2331216515626131