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The Music Focus Group

'Compositions for Cochlear Implantees' Research Project

News release


The Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) and the music department at the University of Southampton have teamed up to explore ways of helping deaf people with cochlear implants to get more enjoyment from music. Professor David Nicholls from Music and Dr Rachel van Besouw from ISVR have secured a £109,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with patients from the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre, based at the University.

Cochlear implants are invaluable in aiding people with severe-to-profound hearing loss to perceive and understand speech, but the current technology often cannot cope with the complexities of music. More than 600 people have been given cochlear implants at Southampton. “Hearing people speak again changes lives but many of our patients tell us they still can’t enjoy music,” explains Rachel. “They say they can hear rhythm but have problems distinguishing notes. We want to investigate ways we can help them.”

“I have always been interested in how music can be used in a research environment to support people,” says David. “It can encourage development and self-belief and boost self-confidence. I am sure our interdisciplinary approach to the challenge will make a real difference to our patients.”

A research assistant composer, Dr Ben Oliver, has been recruited to develop the programme and work with colleagues across the University and from the Southampton Community Music Project.


Related sites:

Institute of Sound and Vibration Research

Music Department


Arts & Humanities Research Council
South of England Cochlear Implant Centre
SoCo Music Project

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