The project

Research from the field of music psychology – a sub-discipline of psychology – has revealed a lot about how people engage with music. This includes musical performance by trained musicians but also everyday music listening. The focus, however, has primarily been on people with ‘normal’ hearing. Very little is known about how deafness or hearing impairments affect music listening experiences, especially for hearing aid users.

ahrc-logoThe project research team met at the launch of the ‘Music Mind Machine’ research group at Sheffield in November 2012. A research proposal was subsequently created and accepted for funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in November 2014 (Grant number: AH/M00368X/1).

The project represents the first large-scale, systematic investigation of how music listening is affected by hearing aid technology. Social-psychological research methods including surveys and interviews will be used to explore patterns and preferences of music listening behaviour within representative samples from the UK population of hearing aid users. Data from clinical audiology will also be used to explore how levels and types of deafness and hearing aids affect music listening experiences.

A short clinical survey was launched in April 2015 and a follow-on interview study was completed at the start of 2016. In-depth discussions were held with a small, balanced sample of hearing aid users to explore their experiences. Participants also took hearing tests, providing up-to-date audiometric data to help the team interpret the results. A large, national, web-based survey will be conducted in 2016 which aims to produce enough data to explore wider trends within, and between, hearing aid user groups.

A project conference is taking place in Leeds September 14-15, 2017.

The team hope to raise awareness of the project via the twitter feed ‘@musicndeafness’ and this website. If you would like to get in touch for any reason or to take part in the research, please do email the team at