An AHRC funded project at the University of Southampton
A cochlear implant (CI) can enable severely or profoundly deaf people to perceive sounds. Although CIs can provide excellent speech perception in quiet environments, current devices are very poor at conveying pitch information and therefore many CI users express dissatisfaction when listening to music through their implant.
Music is ubiquitous in all cultures. It is an effective means of expression and communication and can promote social inclusion. It can arouse and pacify, having an extraordinarily powerful effect on the emotions. The importance of music for well being and quality of life is reflected by the fact that researchers and CI manufacturers are increasingly turning their attention towards developing CI processing strategies aimed at providing better cues for music perception.
Through a unique series of music workshops this project will explore aspects of music that can be appreciated by CI users. It is anticipated that, through the creative process of composition, CI users and researchers will gain a better understanding of specific music styles and structures that can readily be appreciated and enjoyed through a CI.
This knowledge will be used guide the development of music (re)habilitation materials and compositions specifically for CI users. The impact of the composition workshops and (re)habilitation materials on the music perception ability and satisfaction of CI users will also be evaluated. This two year project will conclude with a public seminar and performance here at Southampton.