Contribution of hearing aids to music perception by cochlear implant users

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Publication Date

January 2013

Publication Title

Cochlear Implants International

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Objectives: Modern cochlear implant (CI) encoding strategies represent the temporal envelope of sounds well but provide limited spectral information. This deficit in spectral information has been implicated as a contributing factor to difficulty with speech perception in noisy conditions, discriminating between talkers and melody recognition. One way to supplement spectral information for CI users is by fitting a hearing aid (HA) to the non-implanted ear. Methods: In this study 14 postlingually deaf adults (half with a unilateral CI and the other half with a CI and an HA (CI + HA)) were tested on measures of music perception and familiar melody recognition. Results: CI + HA listeners performed significantly better than CI-only listeners on all pitch-based music perception tasks. The CI + HA group did not perform significantly better than the CI-only group in the two tasks that relied on duration cues. Recognition of familiar melodies was significantly enhanced for the group wearing an HA in addition to their CI. This advantage in melody recognition was increased when melodic sequences were presented with the addition of harmony. Conclusion: These results show that, for CI recipients with aidable hearing in the non-implanted ear, using a HA in addition to their implant improves perception of musical pitch and recognition of real-world melodies.