Qualitative case studies of five cochlear implant recipients' experience with music

Cochlear Implants Int. 2011 Feb;12(1):27-33. doi: 10.1179/146701010X486435.


Cochlear implantation has revolutionized the management of those who suffer from severe-to-profound hearing loss because many patients now achieve excellent speech understanding with objective testing. Nevertheless, speech understanding in noisy conditions and music appreciation remain significant challenges to cochlear implant (CI) users. Music appreciation is an extremely complex experience that is difficult to quantify through a conventional outcome study. This paper aims at documenting the experience of five CI patients with regard to music appreciation using qualitative techniques. This information was obtained through a semi-structured interview process. The interviews were then transcribed and analysed using a constant comparative method of qualitative description. The results together with medical case records were used to identify emerging themes. The common themes that evolved were: musical background, the experience of receiving the implant, current experience with music, attention, musical prediction ability, internal hearing, hedonic vs. critical listening, determination, and timbre perception. By documenting their experiences in this manner, novel insights into the patient perspective are provided that are unique to the literature. These descriptions will aid clinicians and researchers who work in the area of cochlear implantation to better understand the needs of their patients.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Cochlear Implantation / methods
  • Cochlear Implants*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index