The effect of timbre and pitch-pattern difficulty on the pitch perceptions of elementary-aged users of cochlear implants

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Morgan C. Soja (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Patricia Sink

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of timbre and pitch-pattern difficulty on perceptions of same-difference between paired pitch patterns, altered and unaltered by timbre and pattern difficulty, among elementary-aged users of cochlear implants. Three null hypotheses were tested to determine the significance of these variables and their interaction on the pitch perceptions of children aged five through twelve, who used cochlear implants. Secondary purposes of the study included the examination of the relationships, if any, between age, age at implantation, and whether there were significant differences between participants' speech processor and pitch perceptions. The Adapted Musical Background Questionnaire was completed by each participant/parent(s)/guardian(s) and used to collect information about each participants' hearing history and musical experiences. The Pitch Discrimination Test, (PDT) was a researcher-developed, 36-item data collection instrument used to measure pitch perceptions of participants. Three timbres were used as stimuli, including the soprano voice, piano, and violin. Thirteen participant responses to the PDT were recorded individually. Results were analyzed using IBM© SPSS© Statistics Version 22. Results of the study revealed no effect of timbre (p = .511), or pitch-pattern difficulty (p = .971) on pitch perceptions. A significant interaction between timbre and pitch-pattern difficulty, however, was found (p = .046). Additional analyses revealed that there were significant differences between mean scores of PDT test items presented by violin and soprano voice for difficult patterns (p = .041), and items presented by soprano and piano for patterns with moderate difficulty (p = .041). The participants discriminated difficult patterns more accurately when the PDT items were presented by soprano voice than piano, but participants discriminated moderate patterns more accurately when the PDT items were presented piano than by soprano voice. There were no significant positive or negative correlations between age or age at implantation and PDT scores. Additionally, there were no significant differences between participant scores on the PDT and the type of speech processor used. Participants who used CochlearTM devices, however, had higher average scores than participants who used MED-EL® devices. Recommendations were suggested for future research and instruction of children who use cochlear implants in the elementary general music classroom.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Cochlear Implants, Deaf Children, Music Perception
Music for hearing impaired children
Music therapy for the deaf
Cochlear implants
Music $x Physiological aspects

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