Singing in the Key of Life: A Study on Effects of Musical Ear Training After Cochlear Implantation

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This study investigated the effect of a 6-month one-to-one musical ear-training program on the perception of music, speech, and emotional prosody of deaf patients receiving a cochlear implant (CI). Eighteen patients who recently underwent cochlear implantation were assigned to either a musical ear-training group or a control group. The participants in the music group significantly improved in their overall music perception compared with the control group. In particular, their discrimination of timbre, melodic contour, and rhythm improved. Both groups significantly improved in their speech perception; thus, this effect cannot be specifically ascribed to music training. In contrast to the control group, the music group showed an earlier onset of progress in recognition of emotional prosody, whereas end-point performances were comparable. All participants completed the program and showed great enthusiasm for the musical ear training, particularly singing-related activities. If implemented as part of aural/oral rehabilitation therapy, the proposed musical ear-training program could form a valuable complementary method of auditory rehabilitation, and, in the long term, contribute to an improved general quality of life in CI users.

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