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The Relationship Between Hearing Experiences, Music-Listening Behaviors, and Chord-Discrimination Abilities for Cochlear Implant Users

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The main pre-implant factors that relate to speech perception outcomes in adults with cochlear implants (CIs) are well known. However, it is not clear if these same factors are related to music perception and enjoyment. This study explored the relationship between self-reported pre-implant hearing and music experiences, and post-implant chord discrimination and music enjoyment. An online platform was used to deliver the Munich Music Questionnaire (MUMU), run a chord-discrimination task, and obtain demographic information. The chord-discrimination task involved detection of an upward change of one, two or three semitones in the third note, or a downward change of one, two, or three semitones in the middle note of a three-note major chord, using synthesized harmonic tones. Twenty-five CI users participated, aged 29–86 years. Exploratory factor analysis revealed three hearing-related variables (duration of hearing difficulty, age characteristics, and years of hearing with a CI), and three music-related variables (music quality from the CI, extent of music engagement, and music-listening habits). Chord-discrimination scores increased with increasing frequency change of the varying note. It was likely that some CI users used beats between tones as a discrimination cue. Chord discrimination was also better for individuals listening via loudspeakers and headphones than for those listening via Bluetooth streaming, perhaps because of artifacts produced by the latter. Chord-discrimination was better for older participants with longer experience of hearing with an implant. Those with longer duration of hearing difficulty who liked the sound quality of their CIs had higher music enjoyment scores.


Peer reviewed: True


cochlear implants, music enjoyment, chord discrimination, music quality

Journal Title

Trends in Hearing

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SAGE Publications