Showing posts from November, 2014

Cochlear Implants, Music, and Pitch Perception

I wanted to write a bit about music perception, specifically pitch perception with my implants.  I was a classically-trained musician for quite a long time during my youth when my hearing was more-or-less normal.  My pitch perception was relatively perfect, meaning, if you gave me a Middle C, I could re-create the entire 88 pitches in my head with very high accuracy.

When I got my first implant activated and started intensive music therapy on my own, using songs I know very well, the perception was quite inaccurate.  A specific example of this was using a guitar.  I would play various notes, and for the most part it "sounded like" buzzing during the first 2-3 months. After that, pitch started to come through, but a weird thing happened with the actual perception of each pitch:  I would perceive pitches as "different" going up and down a string, but there was also the presence of another pitch.  This is best demonstrated by a picture.

So essentially, the guitar stri…