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Contribution of non-implanted ear to pitch perception for prelingually deafened cochlear implantees
Chen J.K. , Li L.P.
Cheng Hsin General Hospital, Department of Otolaryngology, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
Introduction: Bimodal stimulation (BMS) has been shown to be beneficial for the performance of pitch ranking in
postlingually deafened adults. However, the contribution of non-implanted ears to pitch perception with respect to
duration of hearing aids (HAs) use for prelingually cochlear implantees remained unclear. This study aimed to
investigate whether or not experiences/duration of HAs use in the non-implanted ear improved pitch perception
ability in this population of subjects.
Materials and methods: Twenty-nine children with congenital/prelingual deafness of profound degree were
studied. Test stimuli consisted of two sequential piano tones, ranging from C (256 Hz) to B (495 Hz). Children
were asked to identify the pitch relationship between the two tones (i.e. same, higher, or lower).
Results: Duration of HAs use was the major factor related to the correct rate for pitch perception (p=0.001).
Other factors included duration of music training (p=0.017), age (p=0.004), and duration of HAs use before
implantation (p=0.024). Overall correct rate for pitch perception (O) could be best predicted by the model
combining both duration of HAs use (DuA) and duration of music training (DuM) (O=0.58XDuA+0.377XDuM,
r =0. 457, p< 0.001).
Discussion: Experiences of HAs use appear to improve pitch perception ability in prelingually cochlear
implantees. This suggests that incorporation of HAs use early in life and through the post-operative rehabilitation
program for prelingually deafened children with cochlear implants would be beneficial. A longitudinal study is
needed to show whether improvement of music performance with duration of HAs use in these children is
measurable using auditory evoked potentials.