Can People With Hearing Loss Enjoy Music? - Attune
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Can People With Hearing Loss Enjoy Music?

enjoy music

Hearing loss can have an impact on many parts of your personal life, including your community ability, social engagement, as well as your general enjoyment of music. Music plays a significant role in peoples’ lives, it can be used to create an ambience and mood or bring back fond memories. It can be a daunting process to go through the gradual or sudden deterioration in hearing acuity and experiencing the effects of this on the enjoyment of music. It may feel somewhat isolating to experience this deterioration in the quality of music. However, it is important to ensure appropriate audiological management is undertaken to address this issue with your accredited audiologist at Attune.

The types of hearing loss 

Sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss are the three types of hearing loss that can affect individuals. It is important to undergo appropriate audiological assessment with an accredited audiologist to gain an in-depth understanding of the hearing loss or impairment you may have. 

There are different degrees of severity in hearing loss, ranging anywhere from a mild hearing impairment to profound hearing loss. The severity is a significant pre-determinant on the impact of hearing loss on the sound quality and enjoyment of music for an individual. The degree of hearing loss can have an impact on the volume of the music the individual may be listening to, so there may be a tendency to turn up the volume of the music in cars, at home, or when watching television. 

The frequencies impacted by hearing loss is another significant pre-determinant in the impact of hearing loss on the enjoyment of music. Music consists of many different tones and pitches – imagine a symphony playing, where there are musicians playing double bass, cellos, and violins. To hear the full sound of the symphony, individuals need to be able to hear the bass, the mid-pitches, and treble. However, it is common to have “sloping” hearing loss, where an individual has better hearing acuity in the bass/low-pitches than in the treble range/high-pitches. This means their perception of the symphony and music in general can be skewed due to uneven hearing acuity distribution in the frequencies. Individuals affected by hearing loss can commonly be found turning up the volume of the radio or television, but miss the clarity and treble in the program or music they are listening to. Therefore, it is important to ensure that a basic understanding of the type and severity of hearing loss is formed from the comprehensive audiological assessment to understand what this means for you in terms of enjoying music. 

Implications of hearing loss on the enjoyment of music 

enjoyment of music

Individuals with untreated hearing loss often require a significant increase in the volume of the music to adequately enjoy the sound quality. However, this imposes a risk of disturbing the neighbours, family, or friends due to the loudness. Not only would listening to music at a louder volume impose the risk of disturbing others, but it may also lead to permanent noise-induced damage to the individual. It can also lead to a phenomenon referred to as “recruitment of hair cells”, where listening to sounds at a loud level can result in significant and sudden discomfort in the individual with hearing loss. 

Some of the common complaints from individuals with untreated hearing loss when it comes to the enjoyment of music is the distortion experienced in music, reports of music sounding “wrong” or no longer sounding the way it used to, unrecognisable melodies, and lyrics that are hard to understand.

How can people with hearing loss enjoy music again?

It is challenging for individuals with hearing loss to be able to enjoy music the way they used to. However, there are treatment options available to address this challenge. Depending on the outcome of the comprehensive audiological assessment, the treatment options may vary. One of the most common treatment options for hearing loss is the use of hearing aids, which aim to address both the severity of hearing loss and frequencies affected by hearing loss. Hearing aids are frequency-specific, meaning they account for all of the frequencies and the severity of hearing loss at each of the frequencies. This means that hearing aids do not aim to lift the overall volume of the music up, instead, they focus on the areas that your ears are not adequately addressing or hearing, providing more support to areas in need through frequency-specific gain. 

Prevention of noise-induced hearing loss

noise induced hearing loss

It is important to ensure that adequate measures are taken into consideration for the prevention of any further damage to the ears to preserve the hearing in the individuals with hearing loss. Ensuring that individuals are listening to music and other sounds at a safe level, below 80dBA, is crucial in preventing noise-induced hearing loss. 

Taking appropriate treatment options as advised by your accredited audiologist can prevent noise-induced hearing loss – hearing aids are tailored to address hearing loss to allow individuals to enjoy music again at a safe listening level. They are set with a maximum output, which means that the output of the hearing aids are always set at a safe listening standard for you.

The use of adequate hearing protection is an important step in the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. This is especially crucial at music festivals and loud concerts where individuals may be exposed to loud music or other sounds for an extended period of time, leading to an increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Therefore, understanding which earplugs or headphones are the most suitable for the noisy environments you might find yourself in is important. 

To sum it up 

Hearing loss can be a challenge and ordeal for those who find great enjoyment in music, and where music plays a significant role in their lives and wellbeing. However, individuals with hearing loss can still enjoy music in a similar way they used to if they work together with their accredited audiologist in finding the right treatment option for them.

At Attune, we are passionate about helping people with hearing loss enjoy the things they love, such as listening to music. Book a hearing test with one of our audiologists to find out your severity and what treatment options we can provide you. 

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