INTRODUCTION: Bimodal stimulation (BMS) has been shown to be beneficial for the performance of pitch ranking in postlingually deafened adults. However, the contribution of nonimplanted ears to pitch perception with respect to duration of hearing aid (HAs) use for prelingually cochlear implantees remained unclear. This study aimed to investigate whether experiences/duration of HAs use in the nonimplanted ear improved pitch perception ability in this population of subjects. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-nine children with congenital/prelingual deafness of profound degree were studied. Test stimuli consisted of 2 sequential piano tones, ranging from C (256 Hz) to B (495 Hz). Children were asked to identify the pitch relationship between the 2 tones (i.e., same, higher, or lower). RESULTS: Duration of HAs use was the major factor related to the correct rate for pitch perception. Overall correct rate for pitch perception (O) could be best predicted by duration of HAs use (DuA) (O = 0.561XDuA, r 2 = 0. 315, p = 0.002). DISCUSSION: Experiences of HAs use appear to improve pitch perception ability in prelingually cochlear implantees. This suggests that incorporation of HAs use early in life and through the postoperative rehabilitation program for prelingually deafened children with cochlear implants would be beneficial, although an association does not guarantee causality. A longitudinal study is needed to show whether improvement of music performance with duration of HAs use in these children is measurable using auditory evoked potentials.
- Cochlear implant
- Hearing aids
- Music perception
- Prelingual/ preschool children