The following is an article review from Matt Maciejewski. Check it out to see how this research published in 2017 is relevant to you.

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

Melissa J. Polonenko, Sara Giannantonio, Blake C. Papsin, Pasquale Marsella and Karen A. Gordon  (2017)

J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 141 (6), June 2017

Statement of the Issue

Many children with severe-to-profound hearing loss enjoy music as well as normal hearing children.  However, because they cannot perceive the full range of harmony, pitch, timber and rhyme in music, their experiences vary.  Researchers and clinicians have wondered whether these deficits in music appreciation and perception can be overcome in children with bilateral cochlear implants.

Summary of Findings

In 2017, a group of researchers led by Dr. Polonenko published a study that tested whether children’s music perception could be improved through a form of music training.  They recruited 50 children age 6-18 into their study, with 26 of them having bilateral cochlear implants and 8 having a single cochlear implant and a contralateral hearing aid.  The other 16 children had normal hearing.  Dr. Polonenko and colleagues found that the 34 children with hearing loss had less accurate perception of the pitch in music to which they were exposed than normal hearing children.  The good news was that their music perception improved after music training.

How/Why this Research Matters to Families

This study suggests that exposure to music can help children with cochlear implants improve their recognition and appreciation of music.  Parents may want to sing with and play music for their children with one or two cochlear implants to help them gain a greater appreciation for music, particularly if they like music to begin with.  Additionally, just as music education benefits children with normal hearing, parents of children with cochlear implants should encourage their children to participate in music education, as well as in band and chorus.


Leave a Reply