Sandmann, P., Kegel, A., Eichele, T., Dillier, N., Lai, W., Bendixen, A., Debener, S., Jäncke, L., & Meyer, M. (2010). Neurophysiological evidence of impaired musical sound perception in cochlear-implant users. Clinical Neurophysiology, 121(12), 2070-2082.

Neurophysiological evidence of impaired musical sound perception in cochlear-implant users

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.


Cognitive and Biological Psychology

University of Leipzig
Faculty of Life Sciences
Institute of Psychology
Neumarkt 9-19
D-04109 Leipzig


Dagmar Schrödl
Phone: +49 341 97-39570
Email: dagmar dot schroedl at uni-leipzig dot de

Dorit Thieme
Phone: +49 341 97-39540
Email: d dot thieme at uni-leipzig dot de

Fax: +49 341 97-39271