Original Research

Development of a music perception test for adult hearing-aid users

Marinda Uys, Catherine van Dijk
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 58, No 1 | a38 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v58i1.38 | © 2011 Marinda Uys, Catherine van Dijk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2011 | Published: 07 November 2011

About the author(s)

Marinda Uys, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Catherine van Dijk, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria; Ear Institute, Queenswood, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The purpose of this research was two-fold. Firstly to develop a music perception test for hearing aid users and secondly to evaluate the influence of non-linear frequency compression (NFC) on music perception with the use of the self-compiled test. This article focuses on the description of the development and validation of a music perception test. 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 grew. The Music Perception Test (MPT) was designed to evaluate different aspects of rhythm, timbre, pitch and melody. The development of the MPT could be described as design based. Phase 1 of the study included test development and recording while Phase 2 entailed presentation of stimuli to normal hearing listeners (n=15) and hearing aid users (n=4). Based on the findings of Phase 2, item analysis was performed to eliminate or change stimuli that resulted in high error rates. During Phase 3 the adapted version of the test was performed on a smaller group of normal hearing listeners (n=4) and twenty hearing aid users. Results proved that normal hearing adults as well as adults using hearing aids were able to complete all the sub-tests of the MPT although hearing aid users scored less on the various sub-tests than normal hearing listeners. For the rhythm section of the MPT normal hearing listeners scored on average 93.8% versus 75.5% of hearing aid users and 83% for the timbre section compared to 62.3% by hearing aid users. Normal hearing listeners obtained an average score of 86.3% for the pitch section and 88.2% for the melody section compared to the 70.8% and 61.9% respectively obtained by hearing aid users. This implicates that the MPT can be used successfully for assessment of music perception in hearing aid users within the South African context and can therefore result in more accountable hearing aid fittings taking place. The test can further be used as a counseling tool to assist audiologists and patients in understanding the problems they experience regarding music perception and might be used for future musical training in areas where participants experience problems to customize individual fittings

Keywords

hearing loss, music perception, non-linear frequency compression, hearing aids, sensory neural hearing loss, cochlear dead regions

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