The effect of music on auditory perception in cochlear-implant users and normal-hearing listeners

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Cochlear implants (CIs) are auditory prostheses for severely deaf people that do not benefit from conventional hearing aids. Speech perception is reasonably good with CIs; other signals such as music perception are challenging. First, the perception of music and music related perception in CI users was tested. Second, the possible positive influence of musical training on auditory perception was investigated.
The enjoyment of music in CI users was suboptimal. Identifying vocal emotions (angry or sad?) was shown to be deprived; the categorization of the gender of a talker (a man or a woman?) was abnormal. All auditory signals used in daily life, causing problematic communication for CI users.
Musicians have been shown to have benefits for auditory perception. We tested if musicians were hearing better when listening to CI simulations. A benefit for emotion identification, gender categorization and melody identification was found. Musical training could thus enhance auditory perception in CI users.
To test if auditory perception in actual CI users could be improved we did a small training study. During 6 weeks CI users were musically trained, received music therapy or non-music related training. Effects of musical training on melody identification and of music therapy on emotion identification were shown. Subjectively, the CI users in the music therapy group felt themselves enjoying music more.
Our studies showed that music enjoyment and the perception of vocal gender and emotion, should be improved in CI users. To improve auditory perception musical training might be added to the rehabilitation of CI users.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Baskent, Deniz, Supervisor
  • van der Laan, Bernard, Supervisor
  • Free, Rolien, Co-supervisor
Award date26-Oct-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-9131-1
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-9130-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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