Frontal brain asymmetries as effective parameters to assess the quality of audiovisual stimuli perception in adult and young cochlear implant users

G Cartocci, A G Maglione, G Vecchiato, E Modica, D Rossi, P Malerba, P Marsella, A Scorpecci, S Giannantonio, F Mosca, C A Leone, R Grassia, F Babiloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How is music perceived by cochlear implant (CI) users? This question arises as "the next step" given the impressive performance obtained by these patients in language perception. Furthermore, how can music perception be evaluated beyond self-report rating, in order to obtain measurable data? To address this question, estimation of the frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha activity imbalance, acquired through a 19-channel EEG cap, appears to be a suitable instrument to measure the approach/withdrawal (AW index) reaction to external stimuli. Specifically, a greater value of AW indicates an increased propensity to stimulus approach, and vice versa a lower one a tendency to withdraw from the stimulus. Additionally, due to prelingually and postlingually deafened pathology acquisition, children and adults, respectively, would probably differ in music perception. The aim of the present study was to investigate children and adult CI users, in unilateral (UCI) and bilateral (BCI) implantation conditions, during three experimental situations of music exposure (normal, distorted and mute). Additionally, a study of functional connectivity patterns within cerebral networks was performed to investigate functioning patterns in different experimental populations. As a general result, congruency among patterns between BCI patients and control (CTRL) subjects was seen, characterised by lowest values for the distorted condition (vs. normal and mute conditions) in the AW index and in the connectivity analysis. Additionally, the normal and distorted conditions were significantly different in CI and CTRL adults, and in CTRL children, but not in CI children. These results suggest a higher capacity of discrimination and approach motivation towards normal music in CTRL and BCI subjects, but not for UCI patients. Therefore, for perception of music CTRL and BCI participants appear more similar than UCI subjects, as estimated by measurable and not self-reported parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-360
Number of pages15
JournalActa Otorhinolaryngologica Italica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


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