Experience with the cochlear implant modulates the neural tracking of the beat

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review


Technical limitations of the cochlear implant (CI) challenge the transmission of musical features, which, for many CI users, diminishes music enjoyment post-implantation. However, rhythm has often been found to be well-transmitted through the implant. In this study, we explored the neural correlates of perceiving the beat of a classical four-tone pattern, the arpeggiated Alberti bass. We collected the electroencephalographic responses of twenty-one CI users and fourteen normal-hearing (NH) people using a musical multifeature mismatch negativity paradigm, which presents several repetitions of the Alberti bass. We measured eight recently implanted CI users twice, within the first six weeks of switching-on the device and approximately three months later, as well as thirteen experienced CI users (median experience= 7 years). We investigated the early development of neural entrainment in the recently implanted CI users and compared their responses after 3 months with experienced CI users and NH controls. We hypothesized that more experience with the implant would draw the neural responses of CI users closer to those of the NH participants. Applying a frequency tagging approach, we measured the frontocentral neural activity occurring at the periodicities of the Alberti bass: the beat, its first harmonic, and the binary and quaternary grouping of the beat. We found a significant increase in the frequency-tagged amplitudes of recently implanted users, suggesting an early adaption to perceive the beat within the first weeks of using the implant. These amplitudes increased in the experienced CI users, though they were still smaller than in the NH group. This suggests that a prolonged adaptation period takes place after the first three months of experience, enhancing the perception of the beat. In sum, these findings show that the brain undergoes neural changes post-implantation that enhance the tracking of musical rhythms approaching (but still not reaching) the neural responses of NH people.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date6 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2022
EventMusic and Hearing health Workshop - Oldenburg University, Oldenburg, Germany
Duration: 6 Oct 20227 Oct 2022


ConferenceMusic and Hearing health Workshop
LocationOldenburg University
Internet address


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