Nine out of ten MED-EL recipients surveyed said that music sounds pleasant through their cochlear implant*. This is partly down to the design of our cochlear implants, which closely mimic natural hearing. But it’s also through practice: The more you listen to music, the more you’ll be able to appreciate it. It’s never too early or too late to start practicing music training with your cochlear implant so here are some simple tips to help you to enjoy music with your cochlear implant.
1. Start Simple
Start with simple songs, such as a solo piece with lots of repetition. Search piano solo or guitar solo in your search engine. Listening to music with a strong beat (like rock or hip-hop) might be easier to begin with. Cochlear implant recipients report that Johnny Cash’s early songs, such as “I Walk the Line”, sound very natural and are easy to follow. These songs have characteristics that may make them suitable for early listening with a CI, such as a limited number of instruments (quite often only guitar and percussion), a clearly defined rhythm, Cash’s baritone voice, and a singing style that closely resembles speech. Progress to listening to more complex pieces of music with more instruments as you feel comfortable.
2. Stick to Your Favorites
If possible, listen to familiar tunes. The music you listened to when you were younger may be easier to understand as your memory helps fill in the gaps.
3. Use an Assistive Listening Device
Use headphones or direct audio input via an Assistive Listening Device—such as AudioLink— to gain the best sound quality.
4. Add Visuals
Watch live music or video clips in which you can see the music being played or sung or read along with the lyrics while you listen.
5. Broaden Your Musical Tastes
Listen to classical, pop, country, rock, folk, and other genres to find styles and instruments you prefer to listen to.
6. Practice, Practice, and Practice
Practice identifying songs, sounds, and instruments to improve perception and discrimination of relevant music parameters, such as pitch.
Read CI recipient Mary Beth’s story about rediscovering music with her cochlear implants. She also shares her recommendations for music training software and apps.
For more detailed information about music listening practice, take a look at ‘Music Tips for Adults’, a free download designed to help CI recipients, to once again enjoy listening to music.
*Müller, J., Brill, S., Hagen, R., Moeltner, A., Brockmeier, S.J., Stark, T., Helbig, S., Maurer, J., Zahnert, T., Zierhofer, C., Nopp, P., & Anderson, I. (2012) Clinical trial results with the MED-EL fine structure processing coding strategy in experienced cochlear implant users. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 74(4),185–198.
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The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution is suitable for your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications shown are approved in all countries.