HLAA 2023 Convention Logo

Research Symposium

Joy of Music/Loving Your Ears

Friday, June 30
8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Carondelet Ballroom

This year’s Convention Research Symposium topic is an especially fitting tribute to our New Orleans locale, where music is such a vital thread woven into the fabric of the city. Our panel of four prestigious speakers in the musical and academic fields will present on a range of themes, including music enjoyment and the prevention of hearing loss, resources to protect your hearing while making music, research on music perception and the joy and challenges of being a musician with hearing loss.

Our Joy of Music/Loving Your Ears Research Symposium will be fascinating for anyone with an interest in listening to or performing music, whether classical, rock and roll, or other genres. Each panelist will speak for about 15 minutes, followed by an audience Q & A after the final presentation.

Music and the Prevention of Hearing Loss

Marshall Chasin, Au.D.
Head of Audiology, Musicians’ Clinics of Canada

Repeated music exposure can pose a problem for people of all ages, especially younger generations, with the ubiquity of “portable” audio technology. Despite the complexity of the human auditory system, it is not able to distinguish the difference between industrial sounds and music. Indeed, there are many factors of hearing damage that relate equally to the exposure of both music and industrial noise. Marshall Chasin will present an overview of those factors affecting hearing for musicians, as well as environmental strategies, some tricks, and the most effective hearing protection to minimize the potential damaging effects of listening to music at home, through mobile devices or in concert venues.

Dr. Marshall Chasin is Head of Audiology at the Musicians’ Clinics of Canada, Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto (in Linguistics), and Adjunct Professor at Western University. Marshall holds a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Linguistics from the University of Toronto, a M.Sc. in Audiology and Speech Sciences from the University of British Columbia and his AuD from the Arizona School of Health Sciences. the author of more than 200 articles and eight books, including Music and Hearing Aids (Plural Publishing, 2022), Marshall writes a monthly column in Hearing Review called “Back to Basics.” He is the recipient of the 2004 Audiology Foundation of America Professional Leadership Award, the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Award, the 2013 Jos Millar Shield award from the British Society of Audiology and the 2017 Canada 150 Medal. Marshall developed a TTS app called Temporary Hearing Loss Test app.

Current Research Innovations on Music Perception in Cochlear Implant Users

Karen Chan Barrett, Ph.D.
Auditory Cognitive Neuroscientist & Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco

Music perception is difficult for both cochlear implant (CI) and hearing aid (HA) users due to the devices’ technological constraints and music’s acoustic complexity. This presentation will focus on current research innovations to improve music perception for individuals with hearing loss, based on Dr. Karen Barrett’s extensive background at the intersection of science, music and health. She will address how musical training interventions and novel research innovations, such as processing strategies and individualized pitch maps, improve music perception, then discuss the resources of the Sound Health Network (SHN)—an interagency collaboration to promote public awareness and research about the impact of music on wellness—to stay up-to-date with music perception and hearing loss research.

Dr. Karen Chan Barrett is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with a joint appointment at the Institute for Health & Aging in the School of Nursing and the Department of Otolaryngology in the School of Medicine. As an auditory cognitive neuroscientist, her research interests include the neuroscience of creativity, music perception in cochlear implant users and music and health. Using behavioral and neuroimaging methods, she investigates complex sound perception in cochlear implant users and neural correlates of artistic creativity and improvisation. A musician herself, Karen began playing classical piano at age five and earned dual master’s degrees in piano performance and musicology at the Peabody Institute of Music. Concurrently, she studied neuroscience, first at Wellesley College and then in her Music Theory and Cognition Ph.D. program at Northwestern University.

Prevention of Music Induced Hearing Disorders: Strategies and Technology

Michael Santucci, Au.D., FAAA
Founder and president, Sensaphonics, Inc.

The great irony of being a musician is that the sound produced—the very essence of the musical experience—represents a long-term health risk to the artist. This presentation discusses why musicians are at risk, the five most common types of hearing disorders affecting them, and the necessary components of a hearing loss prevention program, including a case history of music exposures, hearing evaluations, sound level assessment and education on music-induced hearing disorders. Hearing protection devices designed specifically for performing musicians are explored, including the proper use of spectrum-neutral high-fidelity earplugs and in-ear monitoring systems as tools to control sound levels without detracting from the quality of musical performance.

Dr. Michael Santucci is a Doctor of Audiology and president of Sensaphonics, Inc., which he founded in 1985 to develop custom in‐ear products for the music industry and other hearing conservation applications. For over 30 years, he has provided audiological consultation and customized hearing protection strategies to Chicago, Illinois area musicians and many of today’s most prolific performers from all genres of music. Michael serves as Chair of the Music Induced Hearing Loss Task Force for the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) and of the Technical Committee on Hearing and Hearing Loss Prevention for the Audio Engineering Society (AES). Since 2015, he has participated as an expert consultant for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Listen Safe Initiative; he also lectures and consults for the nonprofit Recording Academy® MusiCares program. This past February, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) recognized his innovative contributions in engineering, technology and advocacy with its 2023 Samuel Lybarger Industry Award. Michael was the inaugural winner of the NHCA and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Safe in Sound Award and Beltone’s prestigious Larry Mauldin Award and has twice been presented with the AES Governor’s Award.

Making Music with a Hearing Loss: Challenges and Progress over the Years

Wendy Cheng, Founder
Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss

This presentation will focus on the progress made in eliminating barriers that make music performance difficult, and finding options that enable musicians with significant hearing loss to continue making music. As the founder of the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss (AAMHL), Wendy will share her wealth of experience on how hearing technology and attitudinal barriers have changed since the organization’s inception in 2001. Wendy will showcase how various AAMHL projects have helped to increase knowledge and understanding for the ongoing quest to the experience of making music, regardless of the severity of the hearing loss.

Wendy ChengWendy Cheng is a bilateral cochlear implant recipient who is also a passionate amateur musician. When she is not practicing her viola, directing her community handbell choir or studying music theory, she can be found planning events for her nonprofit, the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss. She also serves on the steering committee for the Montgomery County (MD) chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America.

Admission to the Research Symposium is included with the full or daily Friday package, and may be attended separately for only $20.


Questions? Email us at convention@hearingloss.org.

The HLAA Research Symposium is supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R13DC017913. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.