• Lexical tone perception;
  • music perception;
  • postlingually deafened;
  • cochlear implant;
  • Level of Evidence: 3b



The present study's aim was to assess the music perception ability for Chinese adult cochlear implant users and to investigate the correlation between music and Mandarin-Chinese lexical tone perception.

Study Design:

Case-control study.


Twenty normal-hearing and 21 adult cochlear implant users participated in the Musical Sounds in Cochlear Implants (MuSIC) perception test, including six objective and two subjective musical subtests. The comparison of music perception performance was made between normal-hearing and cochlear implant subjects. Sixteen of the 21 cochlear implant users also performed a tone identification test to investigate the correlation between music and tone perception.


Cochlear implant users performed significantly worse than normal-hearing subjects on pitch discrimination, instrument identification, and instrument detection tests, whereas close to normal-hearing subjects on melody discrimination, chords discrimination, rhythm discrimination, and emotion and dissonance rating subtests. Lexical tone perception was significantly correlated with pitch discrimination, melody discrimination, and instrument identification tests. Duration of hearing aid use was found to be correlated with pitch discrimination ability of cochlear implant users.


Chinese postlingually deafened cochlear implant users performed significantly poorer in pitch discrimination and timbre perception tasks than normal-hearing listeners. Lexical tone perception was found to be significantly correlated with music pitch perception, supporting the notion that tone and music perception may share a similar pitch perception mechanism.