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Pitch Perception, Production and Musical Development of Hearing Impaired Children

Edwards, SL; (2014) Pitch Perception, Production and Musical Development of Hearing Impaired Children. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Children with cochlear hearing loss are offered a range of intervention devices to manage their hearing impairment. The most common devices fitted are hearing aids, cochlear implants or a combination of both (bimodal stimulation with a cochlear implant on one ear and hearing aid on the other). The main goal of these devices is to improve listening and communication for speech and language development. However in more recent years additional focus has been given to non-speech sounds such as music. Pitch is an important aspect of music because it carries the melody; however it is represented differently by the different devices used. The impact this has on children’s musical ability is not fully understood. This thesis explores this area and aims to determine if groups of hearing impaired children who use different intervention devices have a differential impact on pitch perception, singing and general musical ability. The primary research question addressed within the thesis was, do differences exist between different groups of hearing-impaired children who use different amplification devices for general musical ability, pitch perception and singing ability?.Fifty seven children aged between 4 and 9 years old (15 Cochlear implantees, 21 hearing aid users, 8 children with bimodal stimulation and 13 normally hearing children) were assessed for pitch perception and singing while their parents completed a questionnaire on their general musical ability. Results indicated that children using purely electrical stimulation (bilateral cochlear implants) performed more poorly for pitch perception, than children using acoustic information either through bilateral hearing aids or bimodal stimulation. This result was not demonstrated for singing competency, however a reduced comfortable singing range and greater voice irregularity was observed for the cochlear implantees when singing. Normally hearing children performed better with respect to pitch perception and singing competency but did not show a significantly better score for musical enjoyment or involvement in comparison to all three hearing impaired groups. The results indicate that the bimodal configuration could provide some benefits for pitch perception for hearing-impaired children that have useable residual hearing. This doesn’t however extend to pitch production in terms of singing competency. The findings derived from this research study are important not only to build on current research literature but also to inform future clinical practice.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Pitch Perception, Production and Musical Development of Hearing Impaired Children
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > The Ear Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1416297
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