20 August 2019

Singing may improve hearing for children with cochlear implants

A study has found that children with cochlear implants may improve their hearing, especially the perception of speech in noise, if they sing.

A study has assessed how children with cochlear implants who sing informally develop in their perception of speech in noise compared to those with cochlear implants who don´t.

The study studied the effects of age and changes over a 14–17 month period in the speech in noise performance of children with cochlear implants. The children with cochlear implants were compared to a group of normal hearing children.

Compared to the normal hearing group, the entire cochlear implant group was less tolerant of noise in speech perception but both groups improved similarly. However, the singing group among children with cochlear implants showed better speech in noise perception than the non-singing cochlear implant group.

Conclusions of the study

The study concludes that the children with cochlear implants who sang regularly at home were better in their perception of speech in noise than other children with cochlear implants.

The authors also conclude that the results show that the perception of speech in noise by children with cochlear implants is connected to “their pre-attentive discrimination of a change of musical instrument from piano to cymbal and in those who sing regularly, to attention shift towards timbre changes in general (from piano to cembalo, violin and cymbal)”.

Therefore, the study suggests that singing and musical instrument playing may have the potential to enhance the perception of speech in noise in children with cochlear implants.

The study, “Developmental links between speech perception in noise, singing and cortical processing of music in children with cochlear implants”, was published in the journal Music Perception.

Sources: www.healthyhearing.com and Music Perception

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