A Sheffield scientist investigating the impact hearing aids have on the musical experiences of those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
Dr Harriet Crook, lead healthcare scientist for complex hearing loss at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has jointly been named a finalist in the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Health Humanities Medal alongside research colleague, Dr Alinka Greasley, a music psychologist at the University of Leeds.
The cutting-edge Hearing Aids for Music project is the first to investigate how music listening experiences are affected by deafness and the use of hearing aids. The project brings together researchers in the fields of music psychology and clinical audiology.
Around two million people in the UK wear hearing aids so that they can listen, communicate and participate more fully in daily activities, according to Action on Hearing Loss.
However, many people wearing hearing aids experience problems when listening to music, including acoustic feedback, distortion and reduced tone quality.
Dr Crook said: “Music plays an important role in people’s physical, social and emotional well-being, so I am delighted to have been nominated for this award alongside Dr Alinka Greasley. This is important research that has been carried out with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and will benefit people of all ages and improve access to musical experiences. We have also developed advice for hearing aid users and audiologists to improve access to music and hope the research will benefit manufacturers of hearing aids by providing a basis for improved digital signal processing, helping users of the technology to access music.”
Dr Greasley said: “We are very pleased the project has been recognised in this way and want to thank all the hearing aid users in the UK, and internationally, who have taken the time to share their experiences over the last three years.”
Around 100 nominations were received for the Health Humanities Medal, which is run by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in association with the Wellcome Trust. Dr Crook and Dr Greasley have both been nominated for the Inspiration Award.
Winners in each of the five categories, including the Inspiration Award, will be announced at a special awards ceremony at the House of Commons on 11 September. From these there will be an overall winner who will receive the Health Humanities Medal.