Running music workshops for cochlear implantees

logo6People with hearing loss who benefit from having a cochlear implant often report problems with enjoying music, and Southampton researchers from Music and the Institute for Vibration Research have been working on rehabilitation programmes that can help.  Rachel van Besouw (who leads the AHRC-funded multidisciplinary Compositions for Cochlear Implantees project as Principal Investigator) tells us about a recent professionals’ training event on running music workshops for cochlear implant users at the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service:

Ben Oliver demonstrates percussion activities

We’ve gained quite a bit of experience in running music workshops for adult cochlear implant users, having run 12 workshops over the past 3 years (read more about the most recent workshop here) and we thought it would be helpful to share this experience through a training event and a Good Practice Guide to encourage and support other professionals in providing music rehabilitation.

Samantha and Edna describe their experiences of listening to music before losing their hearing and after getting a cochlear implant

Music therapist Sarah Hodkinson led both of these activities and we had contributions from expert cochlear implant users Edna and Samantha, Mary Grasmeder, a clinical scientist at the Auditory Implant Service, and composer Ben Oliver, who is also Co-Investigator on the project.  The training day was held at the Auditory Implant Service in September and was attended by 22 professionals (including audiologists, speech and language therapists, rehabilitationists, music therapists, researchers and students) from the UK, Europe and China.

Workshop5We started the day with presentations on how music is processed by a cochlear implant and hearing loss, performance with a cochlear implant and music. Edna and Samantha then gave very moving personal accounts of their experiences of listening to music prior and post-implantation. Sarah introduced the Good Practice Guide and Ben started the afternoon session with sample drumming/percussion activities.  We also gave delegates a sneak preview of a couple of applications from the Interactive Music Awareness Programme (IMAP) that we have been busy developing and evaluating with adult cochlear implant users.

The event went really well – we had great feedback from everyone who attended and Stuart Nelson, relief support worker for Action on Hearing Loss, posted a blog about the training on the Action on Hearing Loss website.

Trying out the IMAP

A number of the delegates have requested more copies of the Good Practice Guide, so we are busy doing a second print run of these and we hope to invite everyone back for the launch of the IMAP at the end of January 2014.

For more information about the Compositions for Cochlear Implantees project and related research, visit the Music Focus Group website.

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