van Besouw, Rachel M., Grasmeder, Mary L., Hamilton, Mary E., Baumann, Sarah E. and Carey, Kirsty
Early exposure and responses to music in young listeners with and without cochlear implants
At Conference on Implantable Auditory Prostheses, United States.
12 - 17 Jul 2009.
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Early exposure to music is especially important for education, social interaction and parent-child bonding. However, the development of auditory receptive skills and spoken language is often delayed in children with cochlear implants (CIs), which may affect their appreciation of and responses to music. It is also conceivable that a parent of child with a CI may be less confident about using music for nurture and interaction. To the authors’ knowledge there have been no studies which directly compare the exposure and responses to music in young listeners with CIs and with normal hearing. In order to determine whether such differences exist between these groups, a questionnaire for parents exploring various aspects of their child’s music exposure and appreciation was developed at the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre (SOECIC) by a team of audiologists, speech and language therapists, and teachers of the deaf. The questionnaire was distributed to the main carers of children with normal hearing (screened by an additional questionnaire) at local playgroups and nurseries, and to the main carers of children who had been implanted at least one year prior at the SOECIC. All children were aged between 22 and 59 months with no known additional special needs that would affect their music perception ability. The CI group comprised 23 children, (13 females and 10 males) with a mean age of 44.78 months (± 9.35 standard deviation). This group was gender and age matched (within ± 2 months) to a group of children with normal hearing. The results are encouraging; young children with CIs receive a similar amount of exposure to parental singing when compared with their normally hearing peers and spend roughly the same amount of time interacting with musical instruments at home. However, the results also indicate that although young children with CIs are exposed to a similar amount of television programmes, videos and DVDs which include music, they have less exposure to children’s music from a tape/CD/MP3 player where there is no visual stimulus, U = 173.00, p < .05, r = -.31. The responses of the children with CIs to recorded music and parental singing (ranging from ‘an aversion to or disinterest in sound’ to ‘can identify and join in with the tune’) were also found to be less advanced. The results of this study will be used to tailor the services provided by the SOECIC to the habilitation needs of young implantees. It is anticipated that these results will also provide guidance for other carers and professionals concerning the amount of exposure to formal and informal musical activities experienced by children with CIs
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