Impact of Noise Reduction Algorithm in Cochlear Implant Processing on Music Enjoyment

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Noise reduction algorithm (NRA) in speech processing strategy has positive impact on speech perception among cochlear implant (CI) listeners. We sought to evaluate the effect of NRA on music enjoyment.

Study Design:

Prospective analysis of music enjoyment.


Academic medical center.


Normal-hearing (NH) adults (N = 16) and CI listeners (N = 9).


Subjective rating of music excerpts.

Main Outcome Measures:

NH and CI listeners evaluated country music piece on three enjoyment modalities: pleasantness, musicality, and naturalness. Participants listened to the original version and 20 modified, less complex versions created by including subsets of musical instruments from the original song. NH participants listened to the segments through CI simulation and CI listeners listened to the segments with their usual speech processing strategy, with and without NRA.


Decreasing the number of instruments was significantly associated with increase in the pleasantness and naturalness in both NH and CI subjects (p < 0.05). However, there was no difference in music enjoyment with or without NRA for either NH listeners with CI simulation or CI listeners across all three modalities of pleasantness, musicality, and naturalness (p > 0.05): this was true for the original and the modified music segments with one to three instruments (p > 0.05).


NRA does not affect music enjoyment in CI listener or NH individual with CI simulation. This suggests that strategies to enhance speech processing will not necessarily have a positive impact on music enjoyment. However, reducing the complexity of music shows promise in enhancing music enjoyment and should be further explored.

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