Aims: This study compared the music perception abilities of 13 electric acoustic stimulation (EAS) users with two control groups: unilateral cochlear implant (CI) users and normal-hearing (NH) listeners.
Methods: Groups were matched according to age and musical experience before hearing loss (HL) and tested using the Musical Sounds in Cochlear Implants (Mu.S.I.C.) test.
Results: No difference was found on rhythm perception, chord discrimination, dissonance rating, and emotion rating subtest performance between groups. Mean frequency discrimination scores were significantly better in EAS participants than in CI participants and not significantly worse than in NH participants. However, the EAS and CI groups scored similarly (significantly worse than NH participants) on both instrument detection and identification. Results for EAS participants were not significantly worse when the hearing aid component was removed. Frequency of listening to music before HL was negatively correlated with EAS participants' frequency discrimination scores, though singing and playing an instrument appeared to have no effect. EAS participants who indicated many reasons for listening to music and who listen to many genres after implantation scored higher on instrument detection and instrument identification. Better results on these two subtests were correlated with EAS participants' better postoperative auditory thresholds at 250 and 500 Hz.
Conclusions: Though EAS participants performed better on music perception testing (though not timbre-based tasks) than CI participants, their scores did not reach the level of NH participants. This indicates that acoustic hearing in the low frequencies is helpful for music perception, though not the only important factor.
Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.