Enjoyment of music by elderly hearing-impaired listeners

Marjorie R. Leek, Michelle R. Molis, Lina R. Kubli, Jennifer B. Tufts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Anecdotal evidence suggests that hearing loss interferes with the enjoyment of music, although it is not known how widespread this problem currently is. Purpose: To estimate the prevalence of music-listening difficulties among a group of elderly hearing aid wearers. Research Design: Interview. Telephone interviews were conducted with patients who wore hearing aids. Questions regarding several aspects of music listening were included. Study Sample: Sixty-eight hearing-impaired people served as subjects. They had all been seen in the audiology clinic for hearing aid evaluation during the previous year. Data Collection and Analysis: Subjects were asked questions concerning their use of hearing aids, the importance of listening to music in their lives, their habits and practices concerning music, and difficulties they experienced in listening to music. Results: Almost 30% of the respondents reported that their hearing losses affected their enjoyment of music. About half of the respondents indicated that music was either too loud or too soft, although onl about one-third reported difficulties with level contrasts within musical pieces. In contrast to a similar survey carried out 20 years ago, there were many fewer complaints about listening to music. This result may be due in large part to improvements in hearing aids, especially with regard to nonlinear compression. Conclusions: Although new hearing aid technologies have somewhat reduced problems of music enjoyment experienced by hearing-impaired people, audiologists should be aware that some 25-30% of patients may have difficulties with listening to music and may require extra attention to minimize those problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-526
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hearing loss
  • Music

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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