When hearing loss becomes so severe that hearing aids no longer help, a cochlear implant not only amplifies sounds but also lets people hear speech clearly.
Music is a different story.
"I've pretty much given up listening to music and being able to enjoy it," says Prudence Garcia-Renart, a musician who gave up playing the piano a few years ago.
"I've had the implant for 15 years now and it has done so much for me. Before I got the implant, I was working but I could not use a phone, I needed somebody to take notes for me at meetings, and I couldn't have conversations with more than one person. I can now use a phone, I recognize people's voices, I go to films, but music is awful."
Cochlear implants are designed to process speech, which is a much simpler auditory signal compared with music. People with severe hearing loss also have lost auditory neurons that transmit signals to the brain.
It's not possible to tweak the settings of the implant to compensate for the loss of auditory neurons, says Anil Lalwani, MD, director of the Columbia Cochlear Implant Program. "It's unrealistic to expect people with that kind of nerve loss to process the complexity of a symphony, even with an implant."
Instead, Dr. Lalwani and members of Columbia's Cochlear Implant Music Engineering Group are trying to reengineer and simplify music to be more enjoyable for listeners with cochlear implants. "You don't necessarily need the entire piece to enjoy the music," Dr. Lalwani says. "Even though a song may have very complex layers, you can sometimes just enjoy the vocals, or you can just enjoy the instruments."
Right now the group is testing different arrangements of musical compositions to learn which parts of the music are most important for listener enjoyment. "It's not the same for somebody who has normal hearing," Dr. Lalwani says, "and that's what we have to learn."
Down the road, Dr. Lalwani thinks software will be able to take an original piece of music and reconfigure it for listeners or give the listener the ability to engineer their own music.
"Our eventual goal, though, is to compose music for people with cochlear implants based on what we've learned," Dr. Lalwani says. "Original pieces of music that will possibly have less rhythmic instruments, less reverb, possibly more vocals--something that is actually designed for them."
The study is titled, "Music Engineering as a Novel Strategy for Enhancing Music Enjoyment in the Cochlear Implant Recipient." The other contributors are: Gavriel D. Kohlberg, Dean M. Mancuso, and Divya A. Chari.
Anil K. Lalwani serves in the Medical Advisory Board of Advanced Bionics Corporation. Theauthors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflict of interests to disclose.
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. For more information, visit cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.
Newsroom link: http://newsroom.
Lucky Tran, Ph.D. | EurekAlert!
Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy