Music perception improves in children with bilateral cochlear implants or bimodal devices

Melissa J. Polonenko, Sara Giannantonio, Blake C. Papsin, Pasquale Marsella, Karen A. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to determine if music perception by pediatric cochlear implant users can be improved by (1) providing access to bilateral hearing through two cochlear implants or a cochlear implant and a contralateral hearing aid (bimodal users) and (2) any history of music training. The Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Musical Ability test was presented via soundfield to 26 bilateral cochlear implant users, 8 bimodal users and 16 children with normal hearing. Response accuracy and reaction time were recorded via an iPad application. Bilateral cochlear implant and bimodal users perceived musical characteristics less accurately and more slowly than children with normal hearing. Children who had music training were faster and more accurate, regardless of their hearing status. Reaction time on specific subtests decreased with age, years of musical training and, for implant users, better residual hearing. Despite effects of these factors on reaction time, bimodal and bilateral cochlear implant users' responses were less accurate than those of their normal hearing peers. This means children using bilateral cochlear implants and bimodal devices continue to experience challenges perceiving music that are related to hearing impairment and/or device limitations during development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4494-4507
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Acoustical Society of America.


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