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Clinical Assessment of Music Perception in Cochlear Implant Listeners

Nimmons, Grace L.*; Kang, Robert S.; Drennan, Ward R.; Longnion, Jeff; Ruffin, Chad; Worman, Tina§; Yueh, Bevan; Rubinstein, Jay T.

doi: 10.1097/mao.0b013e31812f7244
Original Articles

Objective: Cochlear implants (CI) have provided tremendous benefit for speech recognition in quiet for patients with severe and profound hearing impairment, but implant users still have great difficulty perceiving music. The purpose of this study was to develop a test to quantify music perception by CI listeners in a clinically practical manner that could be standardized for administration at any implant center.

Study Design: Prospective convenience sample.

Setting: Hearing research center at an academic hospital.

Patients: Eight CI listeners, including 5 men and 3 women with implant experience ranging from 0.5 to 6 years, participated in this study. They represented a variety of implant devices and strategies.

Intervention: Administration of the Clinical Assessment of Music Perception test in a standardized sound field.

Main Outcome Measures: Music perception was assessed using a computerized test comprising pitch direction discrimination, melody identification, and timbre identification. The pitch subtest used a 2-alternative forced-choice adaptive procedure to determine a threshold interval for discrimination of complex pitch direction change. The melody and timbre subtests assessed recognition of 12 isochronous melodies and 8 musical instruments, respectively.

Results: Testing demonstrated a broad range of perceptual accuracy on all 3 subtests. Test duration averaged less than 45 minutes.

Conclusion: Clinical Assessment of Music Perception is an efficient computerized test that may be used to measure 3 different aspects of music perception in CI users in a standardized and clinically practical manner.

*Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa; †Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and ‡VM Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington; and §University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Grace L. Nimmons, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242; E-mail:

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant R01-DC007525 and subcontracts of National Institutes of Health grants P50-DC00242 and P30-DC004661.

Dr. Rubinstein is a paid consultant for Cochlear Corporation and has received research support from Advanced Bionics Corporation, 2 manufacturers of CI systems.

© 2008 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.