Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Food Science


Han-Seok Seo

Committee Member

Griffiths G. Atungulu

Second Committee Member

Suzanne Jervis

Third Committee Member

Andronikos Mauromoustakos

Fourth Committee Member

Rachel Glade


aroma, flavor, food perception, hearing loss, intervention, texture


Hearing loss, defined as the partial or total inability to hear sound in one or both ears, is the most common sensory deficit in adults to date. Approximately 15% of American adults aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. The impact of hearing loss may be profound, with consequences for the social, functional, and psychological well-being of the person. Surprisingly, very little attention has been paid on whether auditory loss can significantly impact consumers’ sensory perception and overall enjoyment of food. There were four objectives of this dissertation study. Chapter 1 aimed to determine the impacts of hearing loss on the sensory perception and acceptance of solid, and liquid food matrices with various intensities of textural attributes. Chapter 2 was designed to understand the relationships between hearing loss and aroma, flavor and taste perception and acceptance. Chapter 3 aimed to determine the impacts of environmental cues on consumers’ with hearing loss perception of their eating environments and food liking and perception in a social dining context. Finally, Chapter 4 aimed to develop an appropriate intervention that improves consumers’ with hearing loss overall food acceptance. Results showed that auditory loss impacted the overall acceptance and loudness perception of solid food samples. Pitch intensity was found as a significant negative contributor to the overall liking of solid food samples in individuals with hearing loss. In addition, subjects with hearing loss were not able to discriminate solid food samples with smaller differences in crispness. Loudness perception of liquid foods was also impacted by hearing loss. The group with hearing loss rated liquid samples as less loud compared to the group with normal hearing. No impact of hearing loss was observed on the overall enjoyment of liquid samples. Hearing loss decreased the aroma, flavor perception, and flavor acceptance of applesauce, and orange juice, but little effects were observed on taste perception. Loud external auditory cues negatively impacted the texture liking and flavor perception of food, as well as the general comfort and engagement of subjects with hearing loss during social dining. Finally, a flavor-enhanced food product proved to be an appropriate intervention plan to improve individuals with hearing loss overall food acceptance. The outcomes of this dissertation study may offer new strategies for the improvement of the enjoyment of food for consumers with auditory loss. Additionally, this research may motivate the food industry to develop new products for the growing consumer segment that are people with hearing loss.