Objective: The goal of this study was to determine if a self-administered computer-based rehabilitation program could improve music appreciation and speech understanding in adults who have a cochlear implant (CI).
Study design: Prospective study.
Setting: Tertiary adult CI program.
Patients: Twenty-one postlingually deafened cochlear implant users between the ages of 27 and 79 years were recruited.
Interventions(s): A self-administered music rehabilitative software was designed to help improve the perception of musical patterns of increasing complexity, as well as pitch and timbre perception, premised on focused and divided attention. All participants completed a diagnostic music test before and after rehabilitative training, including tests of pitch and timbre perception and pattern identification with increasing levels of difficulty. Speech data in quiet and noise was also collected both pre- and post-training. Participants trained for a minimum of 3.5 hours a week, for 4 weeks.
Main outcome measure(s): Mean changes in music perception and enjoyment as well as speech perception (IEEE sentence test in quiet and noise).
Results: Post-training diagnostic test scores, as compared with pretraining scores, indicated significant improvements in musical pattern perception. Tests of speech perception in quiet and in noise were significantly improved in a subset of this cohort. All of the training participants thought that the training helped to improve their recognition skills, and found the program to be beneficial.
Conclusion: Despite the limitations of current CI technology, the results of this study suggest that auditory training can improve music perception skills, and possibly speech intelligibility, lending further support to rehabilitation being an integral part of the postimplantation paradigm.