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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Apparently I'm NOT Musically Inclined

Megan of Hearing Sparks recently wrote about some interesting music tests she found online. Ever the optimist, I thought I would try it out and discover that maybe, just maybe, my hearing loss isn't as bad as I think it is. Well, that didn't happen. I flunked the tests royally. Actually, it shouldn't have been a surprise to me. I've noticed a big difference lately in my ability to listen to music. Honestly, it's something I no longer enjoy. Music just doesn't sound "right" anymore. I've even stopped singing in church because I'm no longer confident I can stay on key.

If you'd like to take the tests for yourself, you can find them at Jake Mandell MD's website. Dr. Mandell is a radiology resident, music and neuroimaging researcher, and electronic musician.

Like Megan, I thought it would be interesting to have someone with normal hearing take the tests so we could compare our results. My coworker John was happy to oblige. After the first test, he commented "This was harder than I expected." Dr. Mandell designed these tests to be challenging.

Tone Deaf
My score: 69.4% Rating: Low-normal performance
John's score: 86.1% Rating: Very good performance

Adaptive pitch
My score: At 500 HZ I can differentiate 2 tones 18 HZ apart. Rating: Possible Pitch Perception Deficit Ranking: 0 percentile. Yikes!
John's score: At 500 HZ he can differentiate 2 tones 7.8 HZ apart. Rating: Normal.


My score 56%. Rating: Below normal performance. Score of 60% indicates normal performance and 55% and below indicates possible rhythm perception or memory deficit.
John's score 64%. Rating: Normal performance..

AMVI [Musical intelligence]
My score: 35%. Rating: Below normal performance.
John's score: 76%. Rating: Very good performance.

I'm glad I had John take the tests with me. Otherwise I might be tempted to dismiss them as faulty. I guess I'm making the right decision to refrain from singing in church after all.


Just John said...

You should sing in church anyway. You're nor singing for people to hear. Just make sure the Lord hears you.

Megan said...

Sometimes these tests can be depressing! It's so interesting, though, to have tests a person can take quickly to reliably assess something like this.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks, John. I know the Lord hears the song in my heart.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Megan,
Yeah, I was kind of bummed out about these results. I think it's part of my hearing loss journey - dealing with the lingering denial.
It is wonderful to have tests like these available online for free. Thank you for posting about it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out these tests! I had fun doing them. Apparently, rhythm is my strongest point, but tones...fuggedaboutit.

Thanks again.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi T,
Glad you enjoyed the tests. At least you've got rhythm!

I wonder if it skews the research having people with hearing loss take the tests...

Anonymous said...

Fun! I think I will take it again just to be sure. I scored 66%. Am HOH and wore hearing aids. I think I might score higher next takes a lot to really "listen" CAREFULLY. Thanks for a fun post!


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Candy,
Please let me know if your score changes. I was wondering if I took it again if I would "get it" better. On one of the tests, I think Dr. Mandell mentions that practice helps performance. Good luck!

(e said...

I got really good results for the rhythm and tone deaf tests. I wonder if hearing loss has anything to do with it? My friend with perfect hearing failed the tone deaf test miserably. However, I did not do well on the adaptive pitch test. That was hard!
Thanks for this post! I am going to share this with my students.


Jonathan said...

Thanks for sharing this!

It was a reaffirmation of what I have always felt about the music education that I got in elementary and secondary school. The tests affirmed that I'm strongest with rhythm and lousy with detecting tonal differences. Even though the highest score that I got was 60%, I still say that I enjoy listening to music and playing music.

I wonder if that will be true when I switch over to digital hearing aids.

kim said...

I had lots of musical training as a kid and I have perfect pitch. It's really tough admitting how bad my hearing is now. Like you, I stopped enjoying music, which at one time was basically my life. I still go to the opera but mainly just to have a fun day with friends. Still, I love music--certain kinds-- for the beat. Drums and base can be awesome. I know I hear music differently than everyone else. Doesn't really matter. In the past few years, it seems like vision has taken on new dimensions or something. I know that sounds weird, but it seems to be that color is a little brighter, and has a greater impact on me than it did when I was musical.

And I agree with John. Go ahead and sing your heart out at church. Give them all something to stare at. lol

Dianrez said...

I wonder how people with CI's do on tests like this...and if there is data on before/after implants?

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Good for you, Elizabeth! I thought that adaptive pitch test was maddening. I'd be interested to hear what your students think of the tests. I tried to get my son to do it but he lost patience with it.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Jonathan,
It will be interesting to know if the digital aids make a difference to your music listening experience.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Oooh, Kim. I like the idea of colors being more vibrant. That's a very hopeful thought for me, thank you!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Good question, Dianrez. Thanks for posting. If anyone with a CI has any information on this, please let us know.

(e said...

You know what, I did the tests with my hearing aid. I tried them again without my hearing, and I did not do as well (except for the rhythm test-same without my hearing aid). I did significantly worse on the adaptive pitch test and slightly worse on the tone deaf test. Interesting huh? It's proof that my hearing aid really does help. This would be a good tool to use with my students, especially the ones who do not wear their hearing aids. It is great to actually have a neat tool that shows the difference hearing aids can make!


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Elizabeth,
What an interesting idea! I didn't even think of trying it sans hearing aids. I can see how that would be a good demo for your students and motivate them to wear their aids.
I'm thinking I should email Dr. Mandell and let him know the different ways people are using his tests.
Thanks for commenting again with your experience.
All the best,