CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Laryngorhinootologie 2019; 98(S 02): S321
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1686467
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Are CI recipients able to perceive emotions in music?

K Oberländer
1  HNO-Klinik des Universitätsklinikums Bochum, Bochum
JP Thomas
1  HNO-Klinik des Universitätsklinikums Bochum, Bochum
J Gauer
2  Institut für Kommunikationsakustik der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum
C Völter
1  HNO-Klinik des Universitätsklinikums Bochum, Bochum
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23. April 2019 (online)



Musical enjoyment is often reduced in cochlear implant (CI) recipients due to electrical signal limitation. While in normal hearing individuals emotions are transferred by harmony, melody and tempo, CI users can only rely on tempo. So far, there are only a few studies about musical emotions in postlingual deafened CI-recipients.


During a music therapy of 4 weeks, 10 postlingually deafened adult CI recipients listened to 20 different pieces of classical music which have been reduced in their complexity. Meanwhile they assessed the emotions evoked by music in accordance to the Geneva Emotional Music Scale 25 published by Zentner. Besides, the Munich music questionnaire was carried out.


The rating of the sound characteristics (natural, pleasant, clear, tinny, reverberant) according to the Munich music questionnaire showed only slight intraindividual but distinct interindividual differences. In 9 out of 10 subjects emotions were triggered by the presented music pieces, in each case 1.8 emotions on average. Major interindividual agreement was found in happy and lively songs. Altogether, the subjects rated a median of 9.5 different emotions in relation to all songs (with a range of 4 – 11), most often "lively", followed by "sad" and "happy".


Despite limited music perception CI-recipients can recognize emotions in music, even in complexity reduced pieces. Musical access by emotions might be used as a synthetic training during music rehabilitation for CI-recipients.