The first International Symposium on CI and Music was held at Eriksholm Research Centre October 13-14. It brought together audiologists, music teachers, linguists, researchers, otologists and surgeons from all parts of the world for two days to focus on how Cochlear implant (CI) users can get the most out of music.
More than 80 participants travelled from all over the world to Erikholms Research Centre in Snekkersten were the conference was held. Many interesting speakers were on the program, amongst them Jeremy Marozeau from Hearing Systems DTU, who also was co-chairman and PhD student Niclas Janßen assisting with the organization of the conference. Between the speeches, there were panel debates where everyone had the chance to ask questions and discuss the topics, and in the breaks, were posters sessions as well. Oticon Medical, who sponsored the conference, had arranged a special dinner at Marienlyst Hotel, Elsinore, for all the participants with music entertainment from some of the participants themselves.
"Music is the pinecal of hearing and probably also the biggest challenge because of the neural processing"
The quest for perfect hearing
Can pitch be measured?
Charles Limb, Chief of Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery at the University of California was chairman of the symposium and first presenter:
“Everybody in this auditorium, and this is really the stars within this area, we all have the feeling that we are getting stuck. Despite the fact that we have seen are plenty of success stories and amazing examples of how both children and adults with CIs have learned to listen and speak, there are still problems when it comes to the ability to perceive music. What we can give those people is remarkable, yet we are not able to give them music,” he said.
“I think that music might be the new direction. What is really relevant here is that music is the pinecal of hearing and probably also the biggest challenge because of the neural processing. If we could achieve music perception in hearing impaired, we could allow them to hear anything.”
Charles Limb gave some examples of how music would sound if the bass was removed, and it gave a totally different music experience.
“Music holds the key to perfect hearing. So I hope the music is not only going to give the hearing impaired entertainment but then along the way also perfect hearing,“ he concluded.
Waldo Noguira, head of the group of auditory prostheses at Hannover Medical University, showed examples of how CI users prefer to hear music. For example, CI users typically focus on the vocals over the music accompaniments. The research group has created special remix of music for CI users which can be downloaded online, and is developing a program where CI users can isolate musical instruments apart as well.
Jeremy Marozeau, Associate Professor from the Hearing Systems DTU, gave a talk about the topic: ”Pitch can it be measured?”
Pitch is the auditory attribute of sound in which sounds can be ordered on a scale from low to high.
By definition, the perception of pitch is not so simple in CI-listeners. We don’t really understand the true nature of pitch perception,“ he said.
“In normal hearing listeners, pitch is much more complex and can be divided in at least two dimensions: The tone height, and the tone croma (musical note)”, Jeremy Marozeau explained.
The latter needs to be independent on the timbre, otherwise he same music on different instruments will sound different. And the question is: Can CI users perceive pitch at all?
Jeremy Marozeau recommended singing as musical training for CI users, though one should be a bit careful because the children might confuse vowel changes with pitch changes.
“But maybe it’s also a good thing because you train them to differentiate the pitch from the vowel,” he said and concluded:
“We need to be better at understanding perception in electrodes and to be better to convey simple information in different channels.”
During the conference several videos were shown with children and young people who progressed through song and music training. Several researchers also mentioned the possibilities of apps as a tool to train the perception of music in the brain.
Read the whole programme:
Contributions from Hearing Systems
Jeremy Marozeau: Pitch: Can it be measured?
Semantic differential analyses of pulse trains across electrode places and stimulation rates
Wiebke Lamping, Additional authors: Sébastien Santurette, Jeremy Marozeau
Objective assessment of voluntary stream segregation abilities of CI users
Andreu Parades Gallardo. Additional authors: Sara Miay Kim Madsen, Torsten Dau, Jeremy Marozeau
Captions from photos:
- Jeremy Marozeau gave a talk about the topic: Pitch, can it be measured?
- Andreu Parades Gallardo, PhD student at Hearing Systems DTU with his poster
- Charles Limb
- Poster session
- Group photo by Rune Juul Poulsen, Oticon.
- Panel debate
- Coffee and poster break Wiebke Lambing, Andreu Parades Gallardo and Charlotte Navntoft (DTU)
- Nille Kepp, DK, and Ritva Torppa, FIN, both gave some interesting talks about musical activities with children and were happy to have the chance to network with other experts at this area.
- Stine Derdau Sørensen from the 'Music in the Brain' group at Aarhus University, is in the process of developing a special app ‘MusiCity’ where children with CI individually can train musical abilities. The app can be downloaded for free for IPhone and IPad.