The Right Choice for Music
Bilateral Recipients Prefer MED-EL

In this unique clinical study1, bilateral CI recipients with a device from Cochlear on one ear, and a device from MED-EL on the contralateral side, were questioned about the quality of their hearing experience when listening to both speech and music. All study subjects had received a CI from Cochlear Corporation because, at the time of their initial candidacy, only Cochlear was available at their clinic. Later, when deciding for a second device, these recipients became interested in a MED-EL device after learning about possible advantages for the enjoyment of music.

Objective music listening tests did not reveal any significant differences between devices. However, to also assess subjective music appreciation, recipients were asked to subjectively compare the quality of their hearing experience using devices from the two different manufacturers when listening to music. Four out of five recipients2 appreciated music “better,” “much better” or “very much better,” when using their MED-EL device as compared to their device from Cochlear.  One user reported that he heard equally as well with both devices.

“Immediately after switch on, music had more oomph. [An] immediate impact that I never got with my Cochlear, even when it was fully functional,” one of the questioned recipients remembers.

An additional aim of the study was to understand the quality differences of music perception with the two devices. Recipients were asked to indicate how music “sounded” to them with either their MED-EL or Cochlear device when tested separately. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in music perception, showing clearly that music is perceived as more natural, pleasant, distinct, reverberant and less “tinny” with the MED-EL device.

“Now, vocals [sound] much more clear and resonant (e.g. Elton John),” one participant said.

One participant remarked that she perceived sounds more naturally with a MED-EL device. Listening to music with her device from Cochlear, however, sounded more “robotic, tinny and ‘echoey.’ I cannot differentiate individual voices as well because [of the] more metallic sound.”


The combination of specially designed electrode arrays and advanced coding strategies only available from MED-EL provide best performance and exceptional sound quality. MED-EL electrode arrays are designed to stimulate the entire range of natural hearing (Complete Cochlear Coverage) from the basal to the apical region. Sound coding strategies such as FSP and FS4 provide the user with a richer, more detailed hearing experience. Based on their unique experience using devices from different manufacturers, the majority of subjects would choose MED-EL in the future.
  1. Harris et al. (2011) Intra-individual assessment of speech and music perception in cochlear implant users with contralateral Cochlear and MED-EL systems. Acta Otolaryngol, 131: 1270-8.
  2. A sixth subject was later excluded because of hearing discrepancies between his left and right ear.

© 2017 MED-EL

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