A-Z List

Hearing Impairments and Music Therapy

Goals and Methodologies

by Jess Bruch - December 1999

Problem Areas for Clients

Their weakest areas are in verbal communication, social development, and general knowledge, (Much of what we know of the world comes to us almost subliminally through our ears.) They also will frequently exhibit delays in language development and pragmatic skills such as requesting information and making requests. Hearing impaired subjects have been characterized as possessing feelings of inferiority and depression, exhibiting poorly controlled emotions, and demonstrating inadequate flexibility. Many hearing impaired subjects were found to be rigid, confused in thought processes, and characterized by an inability to integrate experiences meaningfully.

Hearing impaired children may also experience feelings of detachment and isolation. Hearing impairments may produce some maladjustment in the individual which may have been linked, in part, to a faulty body image, which develops in infancy through perceptions and sensations.

Emotional support needs are secondary to communication difficulties.

Music therapy goals for targeting these problem areas

  • Develop intercommunication and sharing
  • Develop enjoyment and enrichment
  • Develop engagement and discovery
  • Develop self-actualization and learning
  • Development of any residual hearing
  • Develop communication with the hearing world
  • Develop healthy outlets for emotional expression

Music Therapy methods used for treatment

  • Activities - Musical games, music and drama, expressive movement and dance, instrumental improvisation, Orff, instrumental performance ensembles.
    • Call and response drumming activities (social interaction, take turns, share)
    • Rhythm improvisation(expressive language, promote self-esteem)/music and drama (group interaction, creativity, self-esteem)
    • Musical games (academic skills, group cooperation)
    • Performance groups (team building)
    • Dance (balance, coordination and motor skills).
    • Feeling vibrations of instruments
    • Signing song lyrics
    • Song writing
    • Rhythmic games (e.g. stomping rhythm of melody in feet, clapping rhythms, moving to rhythm)