Cochlear Implants have proven to be a very effective treatment for severe to profound hearing loss and today there are more than 800,000 patients using a cochlear implant worldwide. While the majority of people using a cochlear implant achieve good speech perception in quiet, many adults experience poor music perception. Both self-reported levels of music enjoyment and measured discrimination of fundamental features in music are significantly lower than in normal hearing adults. Decades of research and product development on cochlear implant signal processing, stimulation and rehabilitation has focused mainly on speech sounds and little on music listening and enjoyment.
The poor music “delivery” in current cochlear implants stands in stark contrast to the general understanding that music is an important part of human well-being and quality of life. Recent scientific evidence points at music as an important auditory input for the development of the human brain – both in terms of cognitive, emotional and auditory processing abilities. Similarly, throughout time and across cultures, music has always played an important role in social gatherings, such as listening to music with friends, singing in the church or going to live music events, these activities can sometimes be unpleasant for people with cochlear implants.
There is no doubt that music is an essential part of social life, health and general well-being – and that substantial research is still needed to give hearing-impaired people better access to this dimension of life.
We are therefore delighted to bring together researchers, clinicians, and people using cochlear implants from across the globe to join forces on bringing music to people with cochlear implants.
This year’s symposium will be hosted by the Cambridge Hearing Group and is co-funded by the William Demant Foundation.