We conducted an experiment using a purposefully designed audio-based game called the Music Puzzle
with Japanese university students with different levels of hearing acuity and experience with music in order to determine the effects of these factors on solving such games. A group of hearing-impaired students (n
= 12) was compared with two hearing control groups with the additional characteristic of having high (n
= 12) or low (n
= 12) engagement in musical activities. The game was played with three sound sets or modes; speech, music, and a mix of the two. The results showed that people with hearing loss had longer processing times for sounds when playing the game. Solving the game task in the speech mode was found particularly difficult for the group with hearing loss, and while they found the game difficult in general, they expressed a fondness for the game and a preference for music. Participants with less musical experience showed difficulties in playing the game with musical material. We were able to explain the impacts of hearing acuity and musical experience; furthermore, we can promote this kind of tool as a viable way to train hearing by focused listening to sound, particularly with music.
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