Reconnecting with music

Musician and CI recipient, Richard, shares his playlist to help you get started

For Richard, a professional blues musician, it was critical to re-introduce music to his life after losing his hearing. But he realised that enjoying music after receiving a cochlear implant requires time and effort.

“When I first got my cochlear implant, music sounded like a wall of loud, rhythmic white noise. And singing sounded like a bunch of cartoon weasels arguing,” he remembers.

Richard explains that a cochlear implant user’s brain needs to re-learn how to interpret sounds.

“You use a different part of your brain to process music, so music and singing can be demanding with a cochlear implant. Pitch is different, timbre is different, even acoustic instruments can sound electric. It’s a whole new challenge.”

“Sometimes we must find music merely tolerable before finding it enjoyable,” he says.

One way to help re-train your brain to appreciate music is by creating a playlist.

Listen to Richard’s Spotify playlist…

To help you get started with a range of music, Richard has devised a Spotify playlist, Richard’s CI Music Beginners. The list encompasses music from widely different genres; there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Listen to Richard’s Spotify playlist here

… or create your own

If you’re inspired to create a playlist yourself, here are Richard’s tips:

  1. Begin with familiar melodies that you already know.
  2. Keep it simple at first. Choose music with a plain melody and one or two instruments then extend your library slowly.
  3. Introduce variations of familiar music. If familiar music seems too different to enjoy, try a new song in a similar style, perhaps by a favourite artist. Consider listening to different versions of a song from your childhood.
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat! This is one of the big keys to success, so don’t give up if music doesn’t sound the way you remember it.
  5. Challenge yourself when you’re ready. Occasionally listening to difficult pieces can make simpler music seem easy by comparison.
  6. Be open-minded and willing to experiment. Try not to let genre matter too much; this is a chance to make new favourites, to find music where you don’t expect it.

Do you have a playlist you’d like to share with Cochlear Family? Post a link to your playlist on social media with the hashtag #CochlearFamilyMusic so that others can find and enjoy it.

Got the music bug?

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