Tips & Tricks For Adults

Listening to Music With a Cochlear Implant

The design of our electrodes and audio processors brings our recipients closest to natural hearing—many MED-EL hearing implant users even enjoy listening to music. To increase music enjoyment even more, practicing is also very important.

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.

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.

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.

Stick to Your Favorites

If you lost your hearing later in life, try listening to familiar tunes. The music you listened to when you were younger may be easier to understand since your memory can help fill in the gaps.

Use an Assistive Listening Device

Use headphones, direct streaming, or direct audio input via an Assistive Listening Device—such as AudioLink—for the best sound quality. Listen in a quiet environment with minimal background noise so you don’t get distracted.

Add Visuals

Watch live music or video clips in which you can see the music being played or sung. These visual cues will help you make sense of what you’re hearing. You could even try going to a live music event where you can watch the performers. Or if you are listening to a song with words that you are unfamiliar with, try reading along with the lyrics while you listen.

Broaden Your Musical Tastes

Listen to a wide variety of genres: classical, pop, country, rock, folk, etc. This will help you figure out which styles and instruments you prefer to listen to. You may find you enjoy some genres now that you didn’t like before you lost your hearing.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice identifying songs, sounds, and instruments. This can help you improve your music listening abilities and pitch perception. Listen with friends or family and let them help you. And most of all, make sure you’re having fun and enjoying the music.

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 get back to enjoying music.

And be sure to check out Meludia, a music training program designed with cochlear implant users in mind.


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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.

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