The perception of speech in noise is challenging for children with cochlear implants (CIs). Singing and musical instrument playing have been associated with improved auditory skills in normal-hearing (NH) children. Therefore, we assessed how children with CIs who sing informally develop in the perception of speech in noise compared to those who do not. We also sought evidence of links of speech perception in noise with MMN and P3a brain responses to musical sounds and studied effects of age and changes over a 14–17 month time period in the speech-in-noise performance of children with CIs. Compared to the NH group, the entire CI group was less tolerant of noise in speech perception, but both groups improved similarly. The CI singing group showed better speech-in-noise perception than the CI non-singing group. The perception of speech in noise in children with CIs was associated with the amplitude of MMN to a change of sound from piano to cymbal, and in the CI singing group only, with earlier P3a for changes in timbre. While our results cannot address causality, they suggest that singing and musical instrument playing may have a potential to enhance the perception of speech in noise in children with CIs.
Developmental Links Between Speech Perception in Noise, Singing, and Cortical Processing of Music in Children with Cochlear Implants
This work was financially supported by Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, the Finnish Concordia Fund, the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, National doctoral program Langnet, the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, the Academy of Finland (grant 276414), and the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. The authors wish to thank the Lindfors Foundation (Eila Lonka and HelenaAhti), Finnish Audiological Society, the personnel of Departments of Audiology in Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Kuopio University Hospitals and Cognitive Brain Research Unit (especially Tanja Linnavalli, Johannes Pykäläinen, Hannu Loimo, Emma Salo, Miika Leminen, and Tommi Makkonen) involved in this study, and most importantly, the parents and children for their participation.
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Ritva Torppa, Andrew Faulkner, Teija Kujala, Minna Huotilainen, Jari Lipsanen; Developmental Links Between Speech Perception in Noise, Singing, and Cortical Processing of Music in Children with Cochlear Implants. Music Perception 1 December 2018; 36 (2): 156–174. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2018.36.2.156
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