VCCA 2024


We are leading a panel presentation at the forthcoming Virtual Conference on Computational Audiology on Thursday June 20th 15:15pm GMT.

“What people with and without hearing loss want from music”

Musical engagement, whether listening or performing, is highly prevalent in everyday life and plays a key role in health and wellbeing. Music is a pleasurable activity that can enhance mood, regulate emotions, help with activities and bring back memories. These functions tend to be similar despite individual variation in preference for musical genres and characteristics. For those with hearing loss, who may be hearing aid and/or cochlear implant users, music appreciation can be challenging. Research highlights difficulties with pitch and melodic perception, problems identifying instruments and lyrics, distortion and poor sound quality. This panel will critically discuss the key factors influencing music appreciation for those with and without hearing loss. After a brief discussion of motivations for engaging with music, the panel will consider the musical, listener and contextual factors that shape our responses to music and patterns of preference. The panellists, who have knowledge and expertise in music, performance, psychology, acoustics and audiology, will reflect on their own musical experiences and how these are shaped by musical contexts and changes in hearing. The discussion will broaden to assess how music experiences might be improved for those with hearing loss, considering hearing devices, technological innovation and clinical practice.

You can find the programme here:

And register to attend for free here:

Muddy, muddled, or muffled? Understanding the perception of audio quality in music by hearing aid users

We have just published the first sensory panel study from the Cadenza project in Frontiers in Psychology which you can access freely here.


Background: Previous work on audio quality evaluation has demonstrated a developing convergence of the key perceptual attributes underlying judgments of quality, such as timbral, spatial and technical attributes. However, across existing research there remains a limited understanding of the crucial perceptual attributes that inform audio quality evaluation for people with hearing loss, and those who use hearing aids. This is especially the case with music, given the unique problems it presents in contrast to human speech.

Method: This paper presents a sensory evaluation study utilising descriptive analysis methods, in which a panel of hearing aid users collaborated, through consensus, to identify the most important perceptual attributes of music audio quality and developed a series of rating scales for future listening tests. Participants (N = 12), with a hearing loss ranging from mild to severe, first completed an online elicitation task, providing single-word terms to describe the audio quality of original and processed music samples; this was completed twice by each participant, once with hearing aids, and once without. Participants were then guided in discussing these raw terms across three focus groups, in which they reduced the term space, identified important perceptual groupings of terms, and developed perceptual attributes from these groups (including rating scales and definitions for each).

Results: Findings show that there were seven key perceptual dimensions underlying music audio quality (clarityharshnessdistortionspaciousnesstreble strengthmiddle strength, and bass strength), alongside a music audio quality attribute and possible alternative frequency balance attributes.

Discussion: We outline how these perceptual attributes align with extant literature, how attribute rating instruments might be used in future work, and the importance of better understanding the music listening difficulties of people with varied profiles of hearing loss.


We want to say a huge thanks to our participants for giving up several days of their time to help us with this important work.

Cadenza Workshop 2023

Cadenza is a 5 year UKRI-funded project involving four UK Universities and associated industrial partners. The aim of the project is to organise open challenges for music processing algorithms to improve the listening experience for those with hearing impairment.

Workshop – 8th December 2023

We are now pleased to announce the 1st Cadenza Workshop for Machine Learning Challenges to Improve Music Listening for People with a Hearing Impairment. This will be a four-hour online event taking place on the 8th of December, starting at 12:00 GMT (07:00 US East / 20:00 Taipei Time).

The event will summarise the work that the team has carried out so far, which includes a sensory evalaution study to explore perceptions of audio quality among hearing-impaired listeners and derive scales to be used in listening experiments, the development and implementation of the first ever machine learning challenge targeted to improve music for those with a hearing impairment, and the results of a listener panel study in which people with hearing impairments have rated the systems that challenge entrants have developed. There will also be guest speakers talking on a range of topics including the development of a musical scene analysis test and remixing music for people with hearing impairment.

You can register for free here:

GN Hearing Complex Needs event

This time last week, I delivered a talk at the danalogic GN Complex Needs Eductional Day (6th June 2023, London) . This event is run annually to provide NHS audiologists with opportunities for Continuining Professional Development. Hosted by the GN dedicated NHS team, and joined by speakers from the UK and internationally, the event focuses on key areas within Complex Needs, including how to support patients. Drawing on the Hearing Aids for Music project findings, my talk focused on the problems hearing aid users experience and clinical strategies that audiologists can use to improve musical experiences. You can access the slides of my talk here and watch the recording here.


Recruiting for listening studies!

We have recently started a new project called Cadenza (, which aims to improve the musical experiences of people with hearing loss by developing innovative signal processing strategies for music for use in hearing aids and consumer devices. This leads on from our Hearing Aids for Music project which identified that hearing aids need improving for music listening and performance.

As part of this research, the team will be carrying out some music listening studies to explore and understand the experiences of those with hearing loss. These studies will involve listening to various music samples and describing these in terms of their audio quality, and possibly discussing this with others, to understand better how music quality is perceived by people with hearing loss. Some of these studies will take place online, and some studies may involve participating at the University of Leeds campus.

The research team are currently looking for people with hearing loss who would potentially be interested in taking part in these music listening studies. This project has the potential to be transformative for millions of people with hearing loss in the UK and globally, and peoples’ reflections on their musical experiences would really help to achieve this. Participants will be paid for their time.

If there are any people who would be interested in learning more about this project, and who would want to express their interest in participating, please do get in touch via email with Prof. Alinka Greasley and Dr. Scott Bannister at

Thank you very much!


Making mixed reality more inclusive for hard of hearing – Call for Participants

On behalf of Dr Lauren Ward (University of York,

Want to play games to help us understand how we can make mixed reality more inclusive and accessible?

Sky and Reflex Arc, with the XR Stories project at the University of York, are investigating how to design more accessible and inclusive experiences for diverse users. We have designed a new mixed reality game and are taking expressions of interest to be a user tester.

Who are we looking to participate? We are initially recruiting individuals who are hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted.

When? Leeds: October 10th-14th, York: October (Dates TBC). You will be contacted to book a specific time and date – sessions take approximately an hour.

What will I have to do?

Go to Eventbrite and register your interest. The researchers will then get in contact to organise a session and go through the formal paperwork for the study.

You will then be invited to Sky’s UX Lab in Leeds or the University of York’s Labs in York. These spaces are like a living room and you will get to play around with some new mixed reality TV technology. The researcher will then have a chat about what you thought of the game (what worked, what didn’t, would you use technology like this again?).

Find out more

To find out more about the study and how we use your data, read the full information sheet or contact

Aural Diversity Network presentations

The Aural Diversity network aims to develop interdisciplinary approaches to hearing difference and seeks to address important issues such as how aural diversity is perceived in disciplines that deal with sound and hearing, how the acoustic design of places and products can be improved for a diverse population, how hearing care can be improved through increased understanding of different needs, and how new knowledge of aural diversity could be used to improve accessibility, inclusion and equality. The network is gaining momentum and we now have over 150 members representing researchers and practitioners across a wide range of disciplines including music and performing arts, sound studies, humanities, healthcare, hearing technologies, transport studies, psychology, and environment.

The videos from the first and second Aural Diversity workshops are now available on the general website here or by clicking the links below. Special thanks to Colin Bradburne and Nilanjanaa Jayant (University of Leeds) for help with editing and caption correcting!

Workshop 1: Hearing Care and Hearing Technologies

University of Leeds, September 1st & 2nd, 2021.
Led by: Dr Alinka Greasley.

Workshop 1


Videos Day 1:

Videos Day 2:

Workshop 2 Hearing Sciences and the Arts and Humanities

Thursday January 13, 2022
Online-only, hosted by University of Nottingham and University of Leeds
Led by: Prof David Baguley, Dr Alinka Greasley and Prof Andrew Hugill


The videos from the third workshop on psychoacoustics and acoustics will be available soon.

If you would like to find out more and join the mailing list, go to:

AG 18/6/22


Musical Scene Analysis study – Call for participants

*** Participate in a new study on musical scene analysis ***

The Hearing Aids for Music project highlighted that people with hearing loss often experience difficulties identifying instruments and hearing melodies when listening to music. Those with greater levels of hearing loss tend to experience greater difficulties.

A new study led by the University of Oldenburg, in collaboration with the University of Leeds, is investigating the ability of people with hearing loss to hear out a melody or instrument from a musical mixture. Participants will engage in listening experiments which will help researchers to establish under what conditions they are more likely to be able to do this. Results will inform current understanding of the effects of hearing loss on music perception and enable further development of existing hearing aids for listening to music.

What will be required of me if I take part?

If you would like to take part, you will be asked to engage in a listening experiment which has three parts.

First, in a pre-test, you will engage in short trials to test whether you can detect a tone in noise.

Second, you will decide whether a single target instrument, which was played to you in advance, is part of a subsequently presented instrument mixture or not. The mixture is manipulated in various ways (for example, the number of instruments is varied, or the loudness of the target instrument compared with the other instruments is changed).

Third, you will be asked to complete a survey on previous musical experience, level of hearing loss and demographic data (age, gender, education).

The whole experimental session will last approx. 30 minutes and you will be paid for your time at a rate of 12 EUROS/£10 per hour. To take part, you need be in a quiet environment, ideally wearing headphones without your hearing aids, but if you need to use your hearing aids (e.g. direct streaming) we ask that you tell us at the end of the survey what set-up you were using.

You can read information about the study and access the listening experiment here. You will be provided with further information about what the experiment will entail and what we will do with your data in the introductory pages, enabling you to give informed consent.

If you have any questions about the study, please contact Robin Hake ( or Alinka Greasley (

The project has received ethical clearance from the University of Oldenburg and the University of Leeds (Ref No. FAHC 21-030)



Enhance Music

Dr Alinka Greasley awarded EPSRC funding to improve music listening for people with hearing loss. 

Some more good news for the start of 2022! Dr Greasley has been awarded EPSRC funding for a new multi-institution interdisciplinary project that will develop novel signal processing approaches for music to be used in hearing aids and consumer devices.

Combining expertise in signal processing, music psychology, and hearing sciences, the Enhance Music project will develop transformative approaches to music processing by hearing aids through the organisation of a series of machine learning challenges. In these challenges, algorithms to enhance music listening experiences for those with hearing loss will be evaluated by and according to criteria set by panels of participants with hearing loss. The project is running across the Universities of Salford, Sheffield, Leeds and Nottingham, with partners Google, BBC R&D, RNID, Logitech, Sonova and the University of Oldenburg.

Drawing on her expertise from the HAFM project, Dr Greasley will lead on the development of audio quality measures for music that will be used for machine learning optimisation, forming sensory and listener panels of individuals with varying hearing abilities and mapping perceptual dimensions affecting their listening experience.

The project will increase the number of researchers considering personalised music listening for people with hearing loss, driving new technological solutions and subsequently improving access to music, with the proven health and wellbeing benefits that brings.

More information about the project, which will start in June 2022 and run for four and a half years, can be found here:

Characterising the effects of hearing loss and hearing aids on the neural code for music


Good news to start 2022! Dr Greasley has been awarded Medical Research Council funding for a project which will explore how hearing loss and hearing aids affect auditory processing of music.

The project, a collaboration with UCL Ear Institute led by Principal Investigator Professor Nick Lesica, will study the neural code for music with and without hearing loss and hearing aids to characterise the internal representation that underlies normal and impaired perception, and to determine how hearing aids might be improved for music.

Her role will be exploring how people with different levels of hearing loss perceive different musical genres, and whether specific problems (e.g. difficulty identifying instruments, distortion) are experienced to a greater degree with some genres than others.  This will inform the stimuli to be used for the main experiments and provide important data about the types of difficulties experienced which will help hearing aid users and audiologists.

The project will run May 2022 – April 2025 and we will soon be advertising for a data analyst.

The project is looking for someone who has expertise in statistical and machine learning methods for large-scale data analysis, and experience applying these methods in the context of music, audio, hearing, and/or neuroscience. If you are interested, you can find more information here or contact