Quality of Music Amplified by Hearing Aids
Archisman Shubhadarshan1 and Sushmit Mishra
Journal Title:Acta Scientific Otolaryngology
Hearing aids are known to produce deleterious effect on music perception. This study explored how music perception through hearing aids can be improved. The recorded samples were rated subjectively by three groups of adult listeners. Group 1 consisted of 15 non-musicians, Group 2 included 15 professional singers and Group 3 comprised of 10 instrumentalists. The digital hearing aids were programmed for a flat 50 dB HL hearing loss. In this experiment, four-channelled (HA A) and fifteen- channelled (HA B) hearing aids were used. The knee-points of the hearing aids were set at default setting and at the highest possible setting. The noise reduction system and feedback management system were either turned off or on. A total of seven music samples processed through hearing aids were recorded along with the original sample using the same set up. The subjects rated all these music samples on a five-point perceptual rating scale that was relevant to music. Furthermore, the music samples were evaluated objectively by using the PRAAT software. In every parameter of perceptual analysis, it was observed that the highest rating was given to the original music sample followed by the music sample recorded through HA B with knee-point high, signal processing off and HA A with knee-point high, with signal processing off, respectively. The objective analysis results were similar to subjective analysis. This study demonstrated that a multi-channel hearing aid with knee-point set high and signal processing turned off provided the best representation of original music sample which is in agreement with a previous study.