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Perceptual Considerations in Designing and Fitting Hearing Aids for Music

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-15, 21:19 authored by Frank RussoFrank Russo

The components of music shed light on important aspects of hearing perception.

To make music, musicians must be able to produce and keep track of subtle changes that occur along numerous dimensions of sound, often unfolding in parallel over time. To understand music, listeners must be able to perceive and make sense of these subtle changes.

The opportunities for masking in music abound, and compared with speech, the range of pitch and intensity levels can vary dramatically. Musical tones include important energy components infringing on both the lower and upper pitch limit. For example, the fundamental frequency of low piano tones fall below 20 Hz, and the upper partials of violin tones rise above 20,000 Hz. In addition, the difference between peak intensity and average intensity is considerably higher in music than it is in speech. This additional variability amounts to a formidable challenge for any auditory system—let alone one that is impaired in some manner.

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