Hearing loss is a common problem that increases in chance as we age. Two thirds of older adults ages 65-74 in the United States have hearing loss. Nearly half of those over age 75 have difficulty hearing.
For those working with those 65 and older, it is important to be alert to this potential issue. We also need to know how to support them so they can be participants in our services.
Hearing loss need not get in the way of music participation.
Ever heard someone say: “This shaker must be broken. It doesn’t do anything.” or “That person is mumbling.”?
Chances are they have a hearing loss.
Maybe you’ve noticed someone has a hearing aid. Do you know what extra steps you need to consider to be sure the person can hear you? (No, you should not presume they can just because they have a hearing aid.)
By your being informed on topics like these, individuals with hearing loss can be participants in music therapy services.
But what do you need to know and do? That’s were experts like Dr. Lindsey Wilhelm, MT-BC come in.
A little about Dr. Lindsey Wilhelm, MT-BC
Dr. Lindsey Wilhelm is coordinator of internship and clinical practicum and assistant professor of Music Therapy at Colorado State University. She holds degrees in music therapy from Colorado State University (BM) and the University of Iowa (MA, Ph.D.) and is a Fellow in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). A board-certified music therapist since 2007, Dr. Wilhelm has worked with both children and adults in a variety of community, educational, rehabilitative, and medical settings.
Dr. Wilhelm has research interests in music therapy applications for aging adults; students’ self-care practices; and music therapy applications for family caregivers. A member of an interdisciplinary Catalyst of Innovative Partnerships research team (Engaging Environments for the Healthy Aging Brain), Dr. Wilhelm is a co-investigator on a research grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) archivist and oversees the AMTA archives that are housed at CSU.
Having found her conference presentations filled with usable ideas and her research to be applicable, I was excited when she agreed to make time in her schedule to share her thoughts.
Dr. Wilhelm’s thoughts on hearing loss and music participation
Take the time to watch this video. The highlights with the approximate time point will help you revisit key concepts.
- Facts about hearing loss (0.56)
- Components of the session to address: listener, auditory stimulus and environment (2:08)
- Dealing with background noise (3:45)
- Strategies for helping people hear during a session(4:42)
- Instruments to be heard; preventing the issue of “too loud” (5:43)
- Vocal work with those dealing with hearing loss (11:41)
- A few more suggestions (13:30)
- Improving acoustics for all (14:43)
- Considerations for recorded music (15:30)
- Amplification: hearing aids and more (16:05)
- Facilitating communication between participants with hearing loss (19:25)
- Select one recommendation from this video. Include it in your plan for this week.
- Come join the conversation in Music Session Builders. Through our sharing we can ALL learn more.
- Be sure you are receiving our weekly Quick Sips. From blog posts, to resources, to fun shares – – good stuff is served up for you.
- Have questions for Dr. Wilhelm? Here are some places for connecting with her:
- Email – Lindsey.Wilhelm@colostate.edu
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/
- Twitter – @lswilhelm