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


ENT & Audiology News articles

PI Alinka Greasley and Co-I Harriet Crook have contributed articles to the ENT & Audiology News special issue on music, which you can access here.

The first is an article ‘Clinical strategies for improving music listening’ in which we outline counselling and technical strategies that audiologists report using in their practice to help improve musical experiences for hearing aid users. You can access the article here.

The second is an article on ‘Supporting music listening through cochlear impact services’ which argues for the role of active music participation in supporting (re)engagment with music for cochlear implant users. You can access the article here.

Any questions or comments, please contact


AD Launch Event

Looking forward to hearing a diverse range of talks at the Launch of the AHRC-funded Aural Diversity Network next week (Sept 1-2).

You can access the full programme here:

There is still time to sign up (free registration) if you are interested in attending. Click here

Visit for more information.


Hearing Care and Hearing Technologies Workshop

Workshop 1: Hearing Care and Hearing Technologies

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

This workshop will examine the ways in which hearing care and hearing technologies currently address hearing differences, and how they might be improved in the future in an interdisciplinary context that includes the arts and humanities alongside technical and scientific fields. It will address questions such as: In what ways do hearing healthcare practitioners (e.g. audiologists, hearing therapists, medical practitioners e.g. ENT specialists) address aural diversity in their practice? How can we improve hearing care through increased understanding of different hearing and listening types? How have hearing and assistive technologies been designed over time to account for hearing difference? What new developments would improve hearing technologies for aural diversity? How could changes in hearing care and hearing technologies affect developments in the arts and humanities?


Deadline for submission of contribution proposals: EXTENDED from July 16th to JULY 30TH 2021

In what ways do hearing healthcare practitioners address aural diversity in their practice? How can we improve hearing care through understanding of different hearing and listening types? How have hearing technologies been designed to account for hearing difference? What new developments would improve hearing technologies for aural diversity?

The Aural Diversity Network ‘Hearing Care and Hearing Technologies’ two-day workshop will examine the ways in which hearing care and hearing technologies currently address hearing differences, and how they might be improved in the future in an interdisciplinary context that includes the arts and humanities alongside technical and scientific fields.

The goal of the network is to bring together researchers and practitioners to develop interdisciplinary approaches to understanding how people hear differently. Whilst we hope to receive contributions from hearing care practitioners and hearing technology experts given the focus of the workshop, we hope to receive submissions from those working across a broad range of disciplines such as music and performance arts, sound studies and soundscape, sound environment design, acoustics and noise studies, transport, and speech.

Submissions may consist of proposals for:

  • Spoken papers, demonstrations, workshops, thematic symposia.
  • Symposia are intended to include contributions from multiple geographical locations.


Please note: due to the online format, poster presentations will not be supported. Live captioning and British Sign Language interpretation will be available throughout.

Important dates:

  • 5th July 2021 Registration opens
  • 16 July 2021 Deadline for abstract submissions
  • 30 July 2021 Review outcomes
  • 27 Aug 2021 Final event programme
  • 1-2 Sept 2021 Network event (online)

Submission guidelines for single paper or demonstration:

  • Structured abstract of max 300 words
  • Empirical studies: Background, Aims, Methods, Results, Conclusion and Implications
  • Non-empirical studies: Background, Aims, Main Contribution, Conclusion and Implications
  • Demonstrations: Background, Aims, Main Contribution & Practical requirements.
  • Indication of topic, thematic highlight, and whether part of a symposium


Submission guidelines for symposia:

  • Structured abstract of max 300 words for symposium as a whole: Background, Aims, Main contribution.
  • Overview of presentations including titles, authors, and selected hubs.
  • Structured abstract for each contribution, following the guidelines for single submissions, submitted separately


Your proposal must further include:

  • The title
  • The authors’ names
  • Type of proposal (presentation, workshop, demonstration, symposium)
  • Your institutional affiliation(s)
  • The email address of the lead author
  • Where you are based nationally/internationally
  • What time zone you are in (-5 UTC Americas, +1UTC West-Europe, +4 UTC East etc.)


How to submit: Please submit your proposal via email to:

Hear me out

I recently took part in one of the University of Leeds Pint of Science episodes, delivering a talk about the development of hearing aid technology as part of a broader focus on the use of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare technologies.

If you are interested in viewing the show, which was streamed live on YouTube, you can watch back here From Ear Trumpets to Machine Learning: Putting the AI into Hearing (Ai)ds.

You can also download the slides here Ear Trumpets pdf.

Aural Diversity Network

We are delighted to announce that this month, the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) funded the Aural Diversity Network which will run for two years from July 2021, and the first network event will be led by the Hearing Aids for Music team at the University of Leeds in September 2021.


Everybody hears differently! But our world is built on an assumption that everybody has the ears of a healthy 18-year old (BSISO226:2003; Sterne 2012). In fact, our hearing changes all the time. We experience varying amounts of hearing loss as we age (presbyacusis). Millions of people suffer from a range of more severe hearing losses related to conditions, disorders, traumas and shocks. And differences in hearing need not necessarily mean loss. Increased sound sensitivity (hyperacusis), aversion to sounds (misophonia), and tinnitus are experienced by many. Even having a cold can affect the way we listen.

The Aural Diversity network seeks to address this complex picture by researching differences in hearing and listening. It is not restricted solely to disability or deafness. Its objectives are to:

  • complement existing theoretical and practice-based research by exploring aural diversity;
  • review, critique and develop interdisciplinary methodologies for investigating aural diversity;
  • refine and develop thinking about enhanced access to the arts and humanities;
  • improve hearing care through increased understanding of hearing and listening types;
  • communicate findings to academic and non-academic communities;
  • build critical mass of expertise which is visible internationally and develop impetus for integration of aural diversity issues.

The initial network comprises the following groups:

  • core academic partners at the Universities of Leicester, Salford, Nottingham, Leeds, Goldsmiths, and Queen Mary University of London, with expertise in music, sound studies, acoustics, psychology, hearing sciences and audio technology
  • a wider network comprising a large number of academics and practitioners, artists and therapists, scientists and specialists, from many different centres, universities and organsiations across the UK and abroad;
  • several organisations, including: the British Tinnitus AssociationRNIDGNResound; the Noise Abatement SocietySound and Music; the Museum of Portable Sound; various Patient & Public Involvement groups; and many more.
  • The Attenborough Arts Centre, which has a tradition in accessibility is named as a Project Partner.


The network will stage five workshops:

  • Workshop 1 (Leeds, Sep 2021): hearing care and technologies. How the use of hearing technologies may affect music and everyday auditory experiences.
  • Workshop 2 (Nottingham, Jan 2022): scientific and clinical aspects. How an arts and humanities approach might complement, challenge, and enhance scientific investigation.
  • Workshop 3 (Salford, May 2022): acoustics of listening differently. How acoustic design of the built and digital environments can be improved.
  • Workshop 4 (London, Sep 2022): aural diversity in the soundscape. Includes a concert featuring new works by aurally diverse artists for an aurally diverse audience.
  • Workshop 5 (Leicester, Jan 2023): music and performance. Use of new technologies in composition and performance.

The network builds on the Aural Diversity project led by Principal Investigator Andrew Hugill. It will benefit musicians and sonic artists by increasing understanding of hearing difference, leading to new audiences for accessible performance events. It will change compositional practice for a music that adapts to listeners’ needs. It will contribute to the study of hearing in literature, film etc. It will impact Soundscape Studies by challenging the widespread acceptance that current standardisations for perception of sound environments equates to standardisation of the ‘average’ listener. It will influence Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. It will help shape policy by improving the sound environment. It will benefit patient groups by understanding the experiences of people with auditory dysfunctions. It will inform healthcare practitioners to improve audiology and hearing devices.

The general public will be invited to attend workshops and included via the mailing list. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please use the following contact form and leave your name and email address. Feedback to previous conferences showed the value of allowing the public to steer the research. Participants stressed the importance of “a variety of voices and experiences, from academic to everyday life”. The network will maintain a website and social media, and publish peer-reviewed articles

We will post more information about the first network event, including a call for papers, in due course.


Music listening and hearing aids: perspectives from audiologists and their patients

We are delighted to announce that we have just published results of the first two Hearing Aids for Music project studies in the International Journal of Audiology. The article is open access so you can read and download freely from anywhere in the world!

Article link: here

The first study explored hearing aid users’ experiences of music listening using a short survey distributed in clinic waiting rooms. The survey asked patients whether they had experienced any problems with music listening, whether they felt this affected their quality of life, whether they had discussed music with their audiologist and if so, whether this had improved their experience of music.

The second study explored audiologists’ perspectives on listening to music with hearing aids using an online survey. The survey asked audiologists to reflect on their training and background, their experiences of discussing music listening issues, their experiences of optimising hearing aids for music listening, and their perceived confidence in their ability to do so.

Results showed that around two-thirds of hearing aid users experience some issue with music listening, and commonly reported problems included pitch perception difficulties, listening in live contexts, distortion, and difficulties hearing lyrics in songs. Some hearing aid users reported that they had stopped participating in musical activities, whether listening or performing, as a result of difficulties experienced. Relatively few hearing aid users had discussed music listening in clinic, and for those who had, they reported that their audiologist was very helpful in trying to arrive at solutions, but that there was mixed results in terms of improvements in music listening experiences.

To help improve music listening experiences, audiologists reported using a range of strategies, the most commonly cited being removing adaptive functionality (e.g. feedback cancellation, noise reduction), alterations to compression, changes to gain, and taking individual musical needs (e.g. contexts, instruments) into account, though it was not possible from the study design to tell whether these were having a beneficial effect. Most audiologists were not trained in fitting hearing aids for music, though around a third had received some training, mostly at a conference or continuing professional development event. Those with some training were more likely to report confidence in providing advice, confidence in programming hearing aids for music, and programming hearing aids for music for a greater number of patients.

Music listening plays a key role in people’s health and wellbeing as they go about their everyday lives, and that includes people with different levels of deafness. We argue in our paper that empirical research into audiologists’ fitting strategies, and their relationship to beneficial outcomes for hearing aid users, is needed in order to develop evidence-based, validated guidelines to support audiologists’ training.

Drs. Alinka Greasley, Harriet Crook, Robert Fulford

You can contact us on:




My experience of music and deafness (Hilary Rae)

Photo: Hilary Rae walking the new Forth Bridge in 2017


“When I was at school, I was in the junior and senior choirs and played the violin in the orchestra. After I left, I continued to play in an amateur orchestra, and sang in various choirs.  I also taught myself the guitar, and played in the church music group.

“When I retired in 1997, I was beginning to lose my hearing. I could not hear my colleagues speaking to me across the office.  It got progressively worse and I will never forget the night I went with friends to a performance of Handel’s Messiah armed with a score.  To my dismay, I found I could not follow it!  I was shocked!

“In 1998 I got one NHS analogue hearing aid for my right ear.  In 2001 I went to a private audiologist.  She said I had bilateral high frequency sensorineural hearing loss, greater in my left ear than the right.  She gave me two digital aids, which were a big improvement.

“I soon found I could not tune my instruments, and sadly I gave them away. It is interesting that I lost the hearing in my left ear altogether by 2016.  I read in Bella Bathurst’s book Sound, that this is quite common for violinists.

“It got to the point where music just sounded like one long chord, and soloists sang on one note all the time! For a short time I could hear Yo Yo Ma’s solo Cello Suites, but soon even that became distorted, so I parted with most of my CDs.

“In 2016 after 22 years of struggling with increasingly powerful hearing aids, I asked to be referred for a cochlear implant. At my first visit to the only hospital in Scotland where they do the operation, they confirmed that I had no hearing in my left ear, and very little in my right.  I was upset that they would only operate on my right ear, which meant sacrificing all the hearing I had left.  I reluctantly returned for a second visit.  I was accepted, and in October 2017 I had an implant.  I could make out speech immediately when I was switched on after four scary weeks of silence!  I was part of the hearing world again! I scored 82% in the listening tests without background noise, and the next time I got 94%!  When background noise was introduced, however, I only got 49%.   Sadly, there is little improvement with music.

“If I hear something well known like Crimond at a funeral, I think I can hear it and sing quietly.  Most of the time I just mouth the words, and new songs leave me completely lost.  I can enjoy listening to a Church of Scotland service live on my computer on a Sunday morning, or later on YouTube.  Using headphones, I find I can pitch well known hymns and sing them out loud to my heart’s content!

“I had a visit from an organist friend, and tried singing him an octave. He said I ended up a few semitones too high!  With another friend I asked if I could sing a hymn he had just played to see if I was singing in tune.  He said no, but encouraged me to sing a few more verses, and after four, he said I was almost there.  That gave me hope!

“I had a couple more glimmers of hope in December. I had an e-Advent Calendar on my computer.  On one snowy page, I heard the dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy!  I was excited.  I asked a friend to check it for me, and I was right!  It was being played on a celeste.  Another page showed a carol singer at a cottage door, and a girl started singing O come all ye faithful.  However, when the rest of the singers and instrumentalists joined in, I lost it.

“I have a CD ROM from the USA which has a whole section on music. I can only make out the drums and the xylophone on the instruments section, and with a selection of well-known songs and nursery rhymes, I can make some out from the rhythm!  I will keep practising!  I try listening to the car radio, watching the News without the subtitles, and singing very quietly if I think I recognise something.

“I enjoy walking up the road for my paper, and I can hear the birds twittering, but they all sound pretty much the same except the magpies. I can also hear the church clock chime the hour, and it does sound like a bell.

“I do discover new sounds occasionally, and hope for a little more improvement. I heard some of the recent thunder!  They say one reaches the optimum level of hearing after two years, so I still have a few months to go.  When I go away, I make sure people are aware that I wouldn’t hear a smoke alarm during the night, but I have NO regrets about having the operation.”

Hilary Rae



Hilary’s story resonates with many we have heard during the Hearing Aids for Music project. Hearing loss can be especially challenging for those who have been immersed in musical activities their whole lives, but persevering with different solutions and engaging in listening practice can be hugely rewarding and lead to improved experiences.

If you would like to contact Hilary about her experiences, then she is happy to hear from you (

If you would like to share your own experiences of listening to and/or performing music, whether you are a hearing aid wearer or cochlear implant recipient, please do get in touch: