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Musical Methods for Little Digital Ears — Musical Learning with Preschool Cochlear Implant Users

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Prelingually deaf children who receive cochlear implants (CI) early
can successfully develop age-appropriate language skills provided
sufficient intervention measures are initiated. However, little is
known about the music perception and enjoyment of these children,
though the enhanced development in the central auditory system
in early-implanted children may benefit music processing. We
hypothesized that early-implanted, prelingually deaf children with
CI’s, who were exposed to group-oriented music learning activities,
would increase their music discrimination skills and — as a potential
near transfer effect- their linguistic skills too. We also expected to
observe music enjoyment and increased musical activity as reported
in parental feedback. Ten preschool CI users participated in weekly
music sessions for three months, while eleven CI-children acted as
controls. Music and speech perception was measured objectively
at the beginning and end of the intervention period. For a musical
performance reference, test data were collected from a group of
normally hearing peers. Results: The children in the music group
outperformed the controls in all tests. Their musical discrimination
abilities improved particularly and approached the normal hearing
level in timbre and pitch detection. The feedback from the parents
indicated a positive impact on the children’s musical interest and
activity. Conclusion: Music learning activities can be beneficial for
the auditory development of child CI users. In sum, the subjects’
response, the feedback, and the test results indicate that music offers
an enjoyable supplement to standard auditory-oral therapy, with a
potential long term impact on the linguistic, cultural, social, and
personal development of these children.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year27 Aug 2010
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2010

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