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The effect of symmetrical and asymmetrical hearing impairment on the music quality perception

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-05, 16:00 authored by Yuexin Cai, Fei Zhao, Yuebo Chen, Maojin Liang, Ling Chen, Haidi Yang, Hao Xiong, Xueyuan Zhang, Yiqing Zheng

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of symmetrical, asymmetrical and unilateral hearing impairment on music quality perception. Six validated music pieces in the categories of classical music, folk music and pop music were used to assess music quality in terms of its ‘pleasantness’, ‘naturalness’, ‘fullness’, ‘roughness’ and ‘sharpness’. 58 participants with sensorineural hearing loss [20 with unilateral hearing loss (UHL), 20 with bilateral symmetrical hearing loss (BSHL) and 18 with bilateral asymmetrical hearing loss (BAHL)] and 29 normal hearing (NH) subjects participated in the present study. Hearing impaired (HI) participants had greater difficulty in overall music quality perception than NH participants. Participants with BSHL rated music pleasantness and naturalness to be higher than participants with BAHL. Moreover, the hearing thresholds of the better ears from BSHL and BAHL participants as well as the hearing thresholds of the worse ears from BSHL participants were negatively correlated to the pleasantness and naturalness perception. HI participants rated the familiar music pieces higher than unfamiliar music pieces in the three music categories. Music quality perception in participants with hearing impairment appeared to be affected by symmetry of hearing loss, degree of hearing loss and music familiarity when they were assessed using the music quality rating test (MQRT). This indicates that binaural symmetrical hearing is important to achieve a high level of music quality perception in HI listeners. This emphasizes the importance of provision of bilateral hearing assistive devices for people with asymmetrical hearing impairment.


Published in

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Cai, Y., Zhao, F., Chen, Y., Liang, M., Chen, L., Yang, H., Xiong, H., Zhang, X. and Zheng, Y. (2015) 'The effect of symmetrical and asymmetrical hearing impairment on music quality perception', European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, 273 (9), pp.2451–2459

Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Fei Zhao

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Speech, Hearing and Communication

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  • © The Publisher


  • en

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