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Residual neural processng of musical sound features in adult cochlear implant users

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  • Lydia Timm, Hannover Medical School
  • ,
  • Peter Vuust
  • Elvira Brattico
  • Deepashri Agrawal, Hannover Medical School
  • ,
  • Stefan Debener, Cluster Excellence Hearing4All
  • ,
  • Andreas Buechner, Hannover Medical School, Denmark
  • Reinhard Dengler, Cluster Excellence Hearing4All
  • ,
  • Matthias Wittforth, Hannover Medical School, Denmark

Auditory processing in general and music perception in particular are hampered in adult cochlear implant (CI) users. To examine the residual music perception skills and their underlying neural correlates in Cl users implanted in adolescence or adulthood, we conducted an electrophysiological and behavioral study comparing adult Cl users with normal-hearing age-matched controls (NH controls). We used a newly developed musical multi-feature paradigm, which makes it possible to test automatic auditory discrimination of six different types of sound feature changes inserted within a musical enriched setting lasting only 20 min. The presentation of stimuli did not require the participants' attention, allowing the study of the early automatic stage of feature processing in the auditory cortex. For the Cl users, we obtained mismatch negativity (MMN) brain responses to five feature changes but not to changes of rhythm, whereas we obtained MMNs for all the feature changes in the NH controls. Furthermore, the MMNs to deviants of pitch of Cl users were reduced in amplitude and later than those of NH controls for changes of pitch and guitar timber. No other group differences in MMN parameters were found to changes in intensity and saxophone timber. Furthermore, the MMNs in Cl users reflected the behavioral scores from a respective discrimination task and were correlated with patients' age and speech intelligibility. Our results suggest that even though Cl users are not performing at the same level as NH controls in neural discrimination of pitch-based features, they do possess potential neural abilities for music processing. However, Cl users showed a disrupted ability to automatically discriminate rhythmic changes compared with controls. The current behavioral and MMN findings highlight the residual neural skills for music processing even in Cl users who have been implanted in adolescence or adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2014

    Research areas

  • cochlear implant, auditory evoked potentials, mismatch negativity, music multi-feature paradigm, music perception, MISMATCH NEGATIVITY MMN, AUDITORY-EVOKED POTENTIALS, FREQUENCY CHANGES, BRAIN RESPONSE, UNIQUE WINDOW, PERCEPTION, RECIPIENTS, MUSICIANS, PARADIGM, SPEECH

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