Brain responses to language-relevant musical features in adolescent cochlear implant users before and after an intensive music training program

Publication: Research - peer-reviewConference abstract for conference

Brain responses to language-relevant musical features in adolescent cochlear implant users before and after an intensive music training program
Petersen B.1,2, Weed E.1,3, Hansen M.1,4, Sørensen S.D.3 , Sandmann P.5 , Vuust P.1,2 1Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark, 2Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, Denmark, 3Aarhus University, Department of Aesthetics and Communication - Linguistics, Aarhus, Denmark, 4Aarhus University, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus, Denmark, 5Hannover Medical School, Department of Neurology, Hannover, Germany

Music and prosody share many of the same relevant acoustic features: pitch, rhythm, and timbre. For cochlear implant (CI) users, perception of all of these is challenging. Few studies have investigated perception of music, prosody, and speech in the growing population of adolescent CI users with a congenital hearing loss. However, recent studies indicate that to keep pace with their normal-hearing (NH) peers, supplementary measures of rehabilitation are important throughout adolescence.
This study aimed to 1) investigate auditory brain processing of musical sounds relevant to prosody processing in adolescent CI users, and 2) investigate the potential impact of intensive musical training on adolescent CI-users' discrimination of music, speech and emotional prosody.
Eleven adolescent CI users (6 girls, Mage = 17.0 years) participated in a short intensive music training program, consisting of active music making supplemented with daily computer based listening exercises. The program was formed by three elements: rhythm-training, singing and ear training. Ten NH peers (2 girls, Mage = 16.2 years) formed a reference group, who followed standard school schedule and received no music training.
Before and after the intervention period, both groups underwent EEG recordings and behavioral tests for perception of music, speech and emotional prosody. EEG was recorded with an adapted version of the musical multifeature paradigm presenting a musical standard randomly violated by musical deviants (pitch, timbre, rhythm and intensity). Difference waves for the rhythm deviant were analyzed in the time window between 300 and 320 ms. Separate mixed-model ANOVAs were performed for left and right fronto-central electrodes. Paired t-tests were used to analyze the behavioral data. Here we present preliminary analyses of ERP responses to the rhythm deviant stimuli and results from a behavioral rhythm discrimination test.
For both left and right electrode sites we found a main effect of group, driven by higher mean amplitude in the NH group. There was no main effect of training. Left hemisphere sites showed a significant group by session interaction, driven by a larger difference wave (rhythm deviant - standard) in the CI group following training. Right hemisphere sites showed no significant effect. The behavioral rhythm discrimination test showed a significant gain in the CI group after training. The NH group produced significantly higher average scores than the CI group at both sessions. Our results suggest that adolescent CI users, who have only experienced sound through the implant, show brain responses to musical stimuli resembling those of NH peers, and that this response can be altered by intensive musical training. The finding points toward the possibility of improving appreciation of music in general for adolescent CI users, and using music as a motivating element in speech therapy programs.
Original languageDanish
Publication year21 Jun 2014
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 21 Jun 2014
Event - München, Germany


Conference13th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other Implantable Auditory Technologies
LocationGasteig Munich, Rosenheimer Straße 5, 81667 Munich, Germany

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