Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name





Carol Silverman

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders | Speech Pathology and Audiology


audiology, cochlear implants, pediatrics, music perception, music therapy, music training


The goal of this project was to systematically review literature in order to analyze music perception performance in prelingually deafened children with cochlear implants before and after structured music training postoperative habilitation programs. Features of music which were evaluated included pitch, melody, timbre, rhythm, and appraisal. In six studies, these measures of music perception were compared pre and post formal music training; in one study, music perception performance was compared between prelingually deafened cochlear implant users and individuals with normal-hearing sensitivity. Overall, when the music training was sufficiently long, the findings indicated that music training significantly improves pitch perception ability. The duration of musical training is positively correlated with the correct rate of pitch perception. With regards to perception of melody and rhythm, and to music appraisal, the findings were similiar for prelingually deafened children with cochlear implants enrolled in a music group and for children with normal-hearing sensitivity who did not receive music training. Analyses of timbre perception showed that children with cochlear implants generally made fewer errors with percussive instruments as opposed to nonpercussive instruments. Significant mismatch negativity potentials (MMNs) were found in adolescent users of cochlear implants for deviations in timbre and rhythm, but not for pitch. This pitch discrimination deficit in auditory evoked potentials supports the findings on behavioral measures. Overall, MNN amplitudes are significantly smaller in users of cochlear implants than in individuals with normal-hearing sensitivity, which suggests poor overall music discrimination ability. Even when music training was not directly linked to increased scores on music perception tests of pitch, melody, timbre, rhythm, and/or appraisal, the anecdotal evidence from children, teachers, and parents in all of these studies suggested various other benefits of music training, including increased interest in and enjoyment of music and improved relationships among the children and their parents and teachers.