About this Research Topic
Cochlear implants (CI) rank as the most successful neural prostheses. They can restore auditory input, as shown over many years in severe to profound hearing-impaired individuals, whether congenitally or post-lingually deafened. More than half a million patients worldwide have received a cochlear implant. Unlike traditional hearing aids, cochlear implants do not amplify sounds, but rather, they electrically stimulate the auditory nerve, thereby sending signals to the brain that can be perceived as sounds.
Whereas the majority of CI patients achieve good speech perception, many experience very poor music perception, both in terms of self-reported music enjoyment as well as in terms of objective perceptual abilities, which are significantly lower than in normal hearing subjects. Far from being “auditory cheesecake”, music is an important part of human well-being and quality of life. From prehistory to the present, and across all known cultures, music has always played an important role in social gatherings and is known to play an important role in mood regulation and happiness. Listening to music with friends, singing in a religious event, playing an instrument, or attending live music events are all things with which many cochlear implant patients struggle. Recent evidence also points to music as an important medium for the development of the human brain – both in terms of cognitive, emotional, and auditory-motor processing abilities. Substantial research is needed to give cochlear implant recipients better access to music and its numerous benefits, as decades of research and development on signal processing, stimulation, and rehabilitation have focused mainly on speech.
Fortunately, research on music and cochlear implantation is growing, involving fields from otolaryngology and psychoacoustics to music psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In order to stimulate and synthesize this expanding field research, this Research Topic invites multi-disciplinary contributions focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics in CI users:
● Music perception and production
● Music enjoyment, musical emotions
● The use of music in aural rehabilitation of children and adults
● Socio-psychological aspects of music in CI users and their relatives
● Pediatric & developmental aspects
● Pitch, Rhythm & Timbre
● How can current user’s experience be improved
● Future improvements towards enabling “perfect hearing”
Keywords: music, cochlear implants, cognition, sensory deprivation, hearing restoration
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