Programme launched to help CI users enjoy music again

Chinese NY (114)

A new computer-based music rehabilitation programme to help cochlear implant (CI) users re-engage in music and to hear music more clearly has been launched 

After three years of development and evaluation, the Interactive Music Awareness Programme (IMAP) was launched at the University of Southampton’s Auditory Implant Service on the 30th January 2014.

The IMAP is a free, online music aural rehabilitation programme that has been developed with adult CI users through a series of consultations, music workshops and a trial. The new online IMAP now includes a larger library of music, featuring major artists such as Sir Cliff Richard and 10cc.

The programme guides the user through 24 half-hour sessions with written and subtitled video instructions on how to use one of over 20 interactive applications. These applications allow the user to create, manipulate and play music using different combinations of instruments, pitch ranges and rhythms. Each session ends with a mini online listening task (to help users discover new music on the web) or a fun test (to see how much the user has learned).

The team behind this project include Professor David Nicholls, Drs Ben Oliver, Richard Polfreman and Ms Sarah Hodkinson from Music, Dr Rachel van Besouw and Ms Mary Grasmeder from the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, and Dr Mike Wald and Mr Magnus White from Electronics and Computer Science.

Dr Oliver says: “Cochlear implants can enable severely or profoundly deaf people to perceive sounds and understand speech. However, current devices are very poor at conveying pitch information and therefore, although many CI users express a desire to hear music again, many are dissatisfied with the way music sounds through their implant. We hope that IMAP helps CI users re-engage with music and help them recognise specific features of music through their implant, such as melodic pitch and the timbre of musical instruments.”

The project was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

For more information or to use the IMAP resource visit