Multidisciplinary perspectives on music perception and cognition for cochlear implant users

Alexander Chern, Iliza Butera

Abstract


For over 30 years, cochlear implants (CIs) have been successfully providing sound and speech perception to individuals who suffer from severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss. Despite many recent advances in CI technology, significant challenges remain for users, including speech perception in noisy environments, identifying vocal emotion, and perhaps most notably, music perception and appreciation. Moreover, pediatric cochlear implant users often demonstrate a slower and more variable language development trajectory compared to their normal hearing peers, which is in part due to the imperfect hearing restoration by these devices. In this brief report, we discuss multidisciplinary perspectives on music perception and cognition for CI users, as well as how they can be employed to improve the cochlear implant experience. We divide these strategies into two categories—a top-down approach (e.g., employing therapeutic measures to help train the CI user’s brain to fully reap the benefits of cochlear implantation) and a bottom-up approach (e.g., improving the auditory input through developing new technology, creating individualized programming strategies, and developing music specifically tailored for CI users). These individualized, yet multidirectional approaches will help create a functionally-integrated system that supports robust processing of complex sounds, which is essential for many everyday tasks.


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by The International Association for Music & Medicine