Beyond Audition: Psychosocial Benefits of Music Training for Children with Hearing Loss

Chi Yhun Lo*, Valerie Looi, William Forde Thompson, Catherine M. McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Children with hearing loss tend to have poorer psychosocial and quality of life outcomes than their typical-hearing (TH) peers- particularly in the areas of peer relationships and school functioning. A small number of studies for TH children have suggested that groupbased music activities are beneficial for prosocial outcomes and help develop a sense of belonging. While one might question whether perceptual limitations would impede satisfactory participation in musical activities, findings from a few studies have suggested that group music activities may have similar benefits for children with hearing loss as well. It is important to note that the effect of music on psychosocial outcomes has primarily been investigated at an anecdotal level. The objective of this study was to explore the effect of a music training program on psychosocial and quality of life outcomes for children with hearing loss. It was hypothesized that music training would provide benefits for domains centered upon peer relationships and prosocial measures. Design: Fourteen children aged 6 to 9 years with prelingual sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) participated in a 12-week music training program that consisted of group-based face-to-face music therapy supplemented by online music apps. The design was a pseudorandomized, longitudinal study (9 participants were waitlisted, initially serving as a passive control group). Psychosocial wellbeing and quality of life were assessed using a questionnaire battery comprised of the Strengths and Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ), the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, the Hearing Environments and Reflection on Quality of Life (HEAR-QL), and the Glasgow Children's Benefit Inventory. For comparative purposes, responses were measured from 16 TH children that ranged in age from 6 to 9 years. Results: At baseline, children with SNHL had poorer outcomes for internalizing problems, and all measures of the HEAR-QL compared with the TH children. There were no differences for general psychosocial and physical health. After music training, SDQ internalizing problems such as peer relationships and emotional regulation were significantly reduced for the children with SNHL. There were no changes for any outcomes for the passive control group. Additional benefits were noted for emotional and learning factors on the Glasgow Children's Benefit Inventory. However, there were no significant changes for any psychosocial and quality of life outcomes as measured by the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory or HEAR-QL instruments. Conclusions: The present study provides initial evidence that music training has a positive effect on at least some psychosocial and quality of life outcomes for children with hearing loss. As they are at a greater risk of poorer psychosocial and quality of life outcomes, these findings are cause for cautious optimism. Children with hearing loss should be encouraged to participate in group-based musical activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-142
Number of pages15
JournalEar and Hearing
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond Audition: Psychosocial Benefits of Music Training for Children with Hearing Loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this