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Music-Listening Level Preference in Musicians and Non-Musicians, and Relation to Vestibular Function

Music-Listening Level Preference in Musicians and Non-Musicians, and Relation to Vestibular Function

Session 1

Presenter Name:Ozgenur Cetinbag

School/Affiliation:The University of Manchester

Co-Authors:Karolina Kluk, Christopher J. Plack, Samuel Couth


This study examines differences in sound level perception between musicians and non-musicians, and whether vestibular function could account for these differences. The vestibular system contributes to the auditory system and is connected with musical rhythm perception. Therefore, musical experience may affect auditory and vestibular systems, due to the greater contribution of the vestibular function to the auditory system.

Firstly, 92 musicians (46F/45M/1 non-specified) and 96 non-musicians (74F/22M), all with self-reported normal hearing and aged 18 – 45 years, completed a series of online questionnaires, including the activities-specific balance confidence scale (ABCs) as a proxy measure of vestibular function. Secondly, 69 participants (44F/25M) from the first part completed an online music-listening test (onlineMLP) to assess music-listening level preferences.

The data analysis showed musicians had slightly higher music listening levels (meansd= 1.98±7.16) and ABCs scores (94.4%) than non-musicians (meansd=1.52±7.07 dB; mean ABCs score= 93.8%). However, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups for the OnlineMLP (p = .915) or ABCs scores (p = .779).

This study contributes a new online test assessing music-listening level preference. Our findings suggest this test might not be sufficient to reveal the impact of musicianship on preferred music-listening level. The online ABCs may not be suitable for measuring differences in vestibular function between young, healthy, normal hearing participants. To research differences more effectively, our follow up studies will evaluate the auditory and vestibular system using objective tests (i.e. audiometry, vestibular evoked myogenic potentials).

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