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Neurophysiological evidence of impaired musical sound perception in cochlear-implant users, Clin Neurophysiol. 2010 Jun 4.

Sandmann P, Kegel A, Eichele T, Dillier N, Lai W, Bendixen A, Debener S, Jancke L, Meyer M.

Institute of Psychology, Division of Neuropsychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland; Department of Psychology, Neuropsychology Lab, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany.


OBJECTIVE: Music perception with a cochlear implant (CI) can be unsatisfactory because current-day implants are primarily designed to enable speech discrimination. The present study aimed at evaluating electrophysiological correlates of musical sound perception in CI users to help achieve the long-term goal of improved restoration of hearing in those individuals. METHODS: Auditory discrimination accuracy in adult CI users (n=12) and matched normal-hearing controls (n=12) was measured by behavioral discrimination tasks and mismatch negativity (MMN) recordings. Discrimination profiles were obtained by using a set of clarinet sounds (original/vocoded) varying along different acoustic dimensions (frequency/intensity/duration) and deviation magnitudes (four levels). RESULTS: Behavioral results and MMN recordings revealed reduced auditory discrimination accuracy in CI users. An inverse relationship was found between MMN amplitudes and duration of profound deafness. CONCLUSIONS: CI users have difficulties in discriminating small changes in the acoustic properties of musical sounds. The recently developed multi-feature MMN paradigm (Pakarinen et al., 2007) can be used to objectively evaluate discrimination abilities of CI users for musical sounds. SIGNIFICANCE: Measuring auditory discrimination functions by means of a multi-feature MMN paradigm could be of substantial clinical value by providing a comprehensive profile of the extent of restored hearing in CI users. Copyright © 2010 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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