A Follow-Up Study on Music and Lexical Tone Perception in Adult Mandarin-Speaking Cochlear Implant Users

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The aim was to evaluate the development of music and lexical tone perception in Mandarin-speaking adult cochlear implant (CI) users over a period of 1 year.

Study Design:

Prospective patient series.


Tertiary hospital and research institute.


Twenty five adult CI users, with ages ranging from 19 to 75 years old, participated in a year-long follow-up evaluation. There were also 40 normal hearing adult subjects who participated as a control group to provide the normal value range.


Musical sounds in cochlear implants (Mu.S.I.C.) test battery was undertaken to evaluate music perception ability. Mandarin Tone Identification in Noise Test (M-TINT) was used to assess lexical tone recognition. The tests for CI users were completed at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after the CI switch-on.

Main Outcomes Measures:

Quantitative and statistical analysis of their results from music and tone perception tests.


The performance of music perception and tone recognition both demonstrated an overall improvement in outcomes during the entire 1-year follow-up process. The increasing trends were obvious in the early period especially in the first 6 months after switch-on. There was a significant improvement in the melody discrimination (p < 0.01), timbre identification (p < 0.001), tone recognition in quiet (p < 0.0001), and in noise (p < 0.0001).


Adult Mandarin-speaking CI users show an increasingly improved performance on music and tone perception during the 1-year follow-up. The improvement was the most prominent in the first 6 months of CI use. It is essential to strengthen the rehabilitation training within the first 6 months.

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