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EDI in Music Higher Education


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Aural Diversity, presented at the Equality, Diversity and inclusion in Music Higher Education one-day conference

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EDI in Music Higher Education

  2. 2. HEARING CONDITIONS • Central deafness: ear-brain connection damaged or absent • Sensorineural hearing loss: withering of the hair cells in the inner ear due to age (presbycusis) or disease, noise-induced (NIHL), or medications (ototoxicity) • Conductive hearing loss: the result of obstructions in the outer or middle ear (e.g. wax, infection, growths, tumours etc). • Mixed hearing loss: a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss 2
  3. 3. AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDERS • Hyperacusis (heightened sensitivity to everyday sounds) • Misophonia (sounds trigger unwelcome emotional or physiological responses) • Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, hissing or other sounds in the ear when no external sound is present) • Diplacusis (inter-aural pitch difference, in which two pitches are heard in either ear) 3
  4. 4. “NORMAL” HEARING ISO 226:2003 Acoustics Normal equal-loudness-level contours “This International Standard specifies combinations of sound pressure levels and frequencies of pure continuous tones which are perceived as equally loud by human listeners […] The listeners are otologically normal persons in the age range from 18 years to 25 years.”
  5. 5. 5 Presbycusis (age-related HL) Sensorineural (e.g. NIHL) Conductive “By 2013, 1.1 billion people were affected by hearing loss globally”. Lancet. 386 (9995): 743–800.
  7. 7. AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDERS Tinnitus • Tinnitus is understood to be a neurological condition, usually caused by hearing damage (BTA, 2019) • Musicians are more than twice as likely to experience tinnitus (Couth et al. 2019) • Tinnitus affects classical musicians just as much as rock/pop musicians (Luders et al 2014) • Tinnitus can result from prolonged exposure to intense sounds (Chasin 1995) Diplacusis • Professional musicians have a considerably higher risk of developing diplacusis (Di Stadio et al. 2018) • 100% of Ménière’s musicians surveyed have diplacusis (Hugill 2019) 7
  8. 8. HYPERACUSIS AND MUSICIANS Reference Musician Type Total Surveyed % Reporting Hyperacusis Kahari 2003 Jazz/Rock 139 39% Janson 2009 Symphony 241 Total: 79% “Severe”: 10% Schmuziger 2006 Pop/Rock (Non- professional) 42 26% Halevi-Katz 2015 Drummers 10 40% 8
  12. 12. MUSICIANS AND AURAL DIVERSITY • I went for an audition to sing. I was put in a room and I sang. I sang okay, and then he gave me ear tests. One of the tests he gave me was, he said: “I'm going to sing now various notes and I want you to pitch them at a third above and vary as I vary the pitch very slightly”. Well of course I couldn't hear him so I couldn't do it. It was just absolutely hopeless. I couldn't follow it, so obviously I failed. • I don't really hear very much below, I'd say G below middle C and very poorly a c below middle C [...] The effect is strong if I have to sing. My singing range is that octave below middle C but I'm very aware of the fact that my pitch is very poor down there. And what I instinctively do is just to sing everything up the octave. • I was playing this Bach cantata and I had to finish out the week. We were doing rehearsals and then two concerts. I was just in agony. • I would play a chord on the guitar and it just didn't make any sense. That’s when I was really frustrated, cause at this point I was I was working full-time in music. I had to stop. It was the end of my career. • I don't have the confidence to just dive in with the harmony so much like I used to, so listening to stuff is harder to to find the spot, to find the key. So, you know how you just jam, you just hear a song and you feel like I'm just going to sing this harmony and join along with it. Even that's harder. 12
  13. 13. AURAL DIVERSITY • The Aural Diversity project has three main aims: • to create a platform and a set of conventions for staging concerts in which aurally diverse musicians perform to an aurally diverse audience • to offer people new ways of approaching the listening experience that shows awareness of different needs and opens up rich experiences for diverse listening profiles • to undertake research into aural diversity that will influence policy and future work in fields such as music, audiology, sound studies, environmental design, and hearing aid manufacture • 13
  14. 14. 14 Thank you! Professor Andrew Hugill University of Leicester