The sound of music: improving experiences for hearing aid users

Case study

The challenge 

Around 12 million people in the UK are affected by hearing loss. Some are musicians; many are music lovers. Yet, reluctantly, many have stopped playing or listening to music. Dr Alinka Greasley set out to investigate why people with hearing loss may disengage from music, and what could be done about it.  

The solution 

Greasley collected data from 1,500 hearing aid users and more than 100 audiologists and discovered that audiologists are not routinely trained to account for music when fitting hearing aids. Greasley wrote two training guides for audiologists on how to fit hearing aids for music lovers, and one advice leaflet for hearing aid users to help educate them on the technologies available.  

The impact

Internationally, Greasley’s work empowered music lovers to talk openly about their experiences of hearing loss and gain the confidence to discuss their needs with their audiologist. In the UK, Greasley’s research reached a large number of stakeholders including hearing aid users, audiologists, and hearing aid manufacturers. Practitioners in clinics all over the country have adopted her guides, with 100% of audiologists who have used them saying they would recommend these resources to others. Greasley’s work has had a material impact on the quality of life of Britain’s hearing aid users with many regaining the pleasure in playing and listening to music once more. She has recently been awarded more than £2 million UKRI funding to advance this research and improve hearing aids for music.