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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2015, Article ID 352869, 10 pages
Research Article

Melodic Contour Training and Its Effect on Speech in Noise, Consonant Discrimination, and Prosody Perception for Cochlear Implant Recipients

1Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
2HEARing Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne, VIC 3053, Australia
3ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
4SCIC Cochlear Implant Program-An RIDBC Service, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
5Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia

Received 24 April 2015; Revised 24 July 2015; Accepted 29 July 2015

Academic Editor: Kentaro Ono

Copyright © 2015 Chi Yhun Lo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cochlear implant (CI) recipients generally have good perception of speech in quiet environments but difficulty perceiving speech in noisy conditions, reduced sensitivity to speech prosody, and difficulty appreciating music. Auditory training has been proposed as a method of improving speech perception for CI recipients, and recent efforts have focussed on the potential benefits of music-based training. This study evaluated two melodic contour training programs and their relative efficacy as measured on a number of speech perception tasks. These melodic contours were simple 5-note sequences formed into 9 contour patterns, such as “rising” or “rising-falling.” One training program controlled difficulty by manipulating interval sizes, the other by note durations. Sixteen adult CI recipients (aged 26–86 years) and twelve normal hearing (NH) adult listeners (aged 21–42 years) were tested on a speech perception battery at baseline and then after 6 weeks of melodic contour training. Results indicated that there were some benefits for speech perception tasks for CI recipients after melodic contour training. Specifically, consonant perception in quiet and question/statement prosody was improved. In comparison, NH listeners performed at ceiling for these tasks. There was no significant difference between the posttraining results for either training program, suggesting that both conferred benefits for training CI recipients to better perceive speech.