Music as Communication and Training for Children with Cochlear Implants

  • Kate GfellerEmail author


From the first lullabies of infancy to the ever-present popular music of adolescence, music plays an important role in the lives of children. Because of music’s pervasiveness in every known culture, children will experience it in a variety of forms on a daily basis. To what extent are children who use cochlear implants (CI) able to accurately perceive and enjoy this ubiquitous acoustical sound? Can music be a meaningful and efficacious component of personal, social, educational, and habilitative experiences? This chapter describes (1) those aspects of music most and least effectively conveyed through a CI; (2) comparisons between pediatric CI users, adult CI recipients, and children with normal hearing (NH); (3) variance among pediatric CI users regarding music perception, enjoyment, and participation; (4) the impact of systematic training on music perception and enjoyment; (5) theoretical and empirical evidence regarding transfer of music training to speech and language; and (6) practical suggestions for clinical interventions and optimizing participation in musical experiences.


Cochlear implants Pediatric Music Music training Speech perception 



This manuscript was supported by grant 2 P50 DC00242 from the NIDCD, NIH; RO1 DC012082-10 from the NIDCD, NIH; and grant RR00059 from the General Clinical Research Centers Program, NCRR, NIH; and the Iowa Lions Foundation. Virginia Driscoll provided invaluable input in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Music and Department of Communication Sciences and DisordersThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Cochlear Implant Research CenterThe University of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa CityUSA

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