Raymond Goldsworthy, PhD, head of the Bionic Ear Lab in the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and a cochlear implant user, has spent years working with a team of researchers and patients to help improve the capabilities of the implant. Historically, cochlear implants have made it impossible for users to distinguish certain notes and harmonies, even if the users are former professional musicians.

Previous studies from other researchers have concluded that cochlear implant users were largely incapable of distinguishing pleasing or discordant harmonies. Goldsworthy’s firsthand experience seemed to indicate otherwise. Having seen promising results from a weekly music appreciation hour he’s hosted for his patients for the past two years, he and two students led a study examining how the implants could help his patients and others perceive harmonies. The findings were astonishing.

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