Tips & Tricks

Frequently Asked Questions About Music and Cochlear Implants

Music can enrich our lives—and many cochlear implant users enjoy listening to music and playing instruments. Music perception varies among CI users, but here are answers to some common questions related to what music with a MED-EL cochlear implant can sound like and why music rehab is important.

Frequently Asked Questions About Music and Cochlear Implants

What Will Music Sound Like With a Cochlear Implant?

Music, just like speech, will likely sound different with your CI at first. Your brain must learn to process and interpret the new auditory signals it is receiving. It will take time. But keep practicing, connect with others, and talk with your clinical specialist about your music perception.

Why Should I Practice Listening to Music With My Cochlear Implant?

Targeted music practice can help you improve your music enjoyment and music perception. The more you practice, the more your ability to perceive music will improve. And better music perception can lead to higher music appreciation, which can have a positive impact on your quality of life.

When Should I Start Practicing Listening to Music With My Cochlear Implant?

Start whenever you’re ready! Understanding spoken language takes time and practice with a CI, and so does understanding music. So the earlier you start, the sooner you’ll be able to appreciate music. But it’s also never too late to start. You can improve your listening skills and set off on a journey towards enjoying music no matter how long you’ve had your CI.

What Kind of Music Should I Begin With?

Do you have a favorite musician? Any favorite songs? Start there! Being familiar with the music you choose to listen to may help you recognize it with your CI. You might also want to begin with music that has a simple arrangement and a repetitive structure. Listening to music with just one instrument or voice—rather than complex musical arrangements, such as orchestral music—is also a good place to start.

Are Some Parts of Music Easier to Hear Than Others?

Yes. For most people, the rhythm will be the first element that is distinguishable. But don’t be discouraged! The other elements will become clearer with time and practice. Hearing intervals, chords, melodies, and more is within your reach with practice and motivation.

What Visual Aids Can Help Me?

Try watching a video of the song being performed live so that you can see the instrumentalist’s fingers as they play or the singer’s expressions as they sing. Or following along with the written lyrics to help you understand the words correctly. If you can read sheet music, it might also help you to follow along and match what you’re hearing to the notes you see in the score.

How Should I Practice?

Try Meludia, a music training tool created for CI recipients to build their music skills. And you can check out more tips for music practice here. Or take a look at “Music Tips for Adults,” a free download designed to help CI recipients enjoy listening to music again.

Train Your Listening Skills

Want to improve your musical perception while having fun at the same time? Test out Meludia with a myMED-EL account.

Try Meludia


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1 Comment


October 02, 2023

I am employed at the local radio station so it was really a BLOW to lose my hearing!! Just recently, I had what remedy like a headcold and when I talked it sounded to me like I was in a barrel. I was given Amoxicil later took Sudafed thinking it would open my head.Instead I had a seizure of sorts and wound up in the local hospital. A few days later the hearing in my only good ear went out on me. I was just reading up to find out more about implants. Thanks George


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