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Music appreciation and perception have always been difficult for the majority of cochlear implant (CI) patients. For these individuals who listen with bionic ears, music often sounds distorted, although many of them can achieve good speech perception in quiet. Previous studies show that the majority of persons with CIs would like to acquire more positive experience with music. Previous studies also show correlations between speech perception and perception of individual musical elements, such as pitch ranking, timbre, or rhythms in CI users. However, complex musical materials which involve simultaneous variations in multiple musical elements can result in poorer music appreciation and perception scores in CI users. The present study examined possible associations between perception of music and speech. Appreciation of Music in Cochlear Implantees (AMICI) test designed for CI users was used to estimate CI users’ functional music perception ability. Results indicate that the ability to identify musical instruments (mean=74% correct) and musical styles (mean=63% correct) among post-lingually deafened CI participants was significantly poorer than that among subjects with normal hearing (p<0.001). For the CI subjects, drums were the easiest to identify and flutes were the most difficult to identify among nine instrument categories. Classical music was the easiest to identify among five music style categories. Further, AMICI results for the CI subjects were significantly associated with their perception of speech, environmental sounds, and spectro-temporal stimuli. These results suggest that cross-domain synergistic improvements may be induced through rehabilitation which involves music, speech, and environmental sounds.
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