EXZELLENZCLUSTER / cluster of excellence

Outcomes of the research in the cluster:

The successful outcomes of the Hannover part of the cluster with strong translational potential into clinical practice are in several domains of research:

  1. 1)We have helped to develop new technical solutions for prosthetic stimulation of hearing, including several improvements of the existing technology (e.g. „Hannover coupler“ for the Vibrant Soundbridge, MedEl Comp., developed by the teams of Prof. H. Maier and Prof. Th. Lenarz), but mainly participating in translational activities in developing a new stimulation device - the CODACS, a new product of Cochlear Ltd., Australia. For this product we not only helped to develop the surgical techniques (Prof. Th. Lenarz) and validated the effectiveness of the device (Prof. H. Maier), we also successfully implanted the vast majority of subjects worldwide (Prof. Th. Lenarz) and compared the outcomes to other treatments, demonstrating the advantage of this development for a certain patient group (Prof. H. Maier and Prof. A. Büchner).

  2. 2)We have identified the mechanisms of stimulation using pulsed laser light, a technique that was introduced by a team in the US as an alternative for electrical stimulation via cochlear implants. We could demonstrate that this technique cannot be used in the deaf ears, but may have potential use in residual hearing (teams of Prof. W. Ertmer, Prof. A. Heistercamp, Prof. H. Maier and Prof. A. Kral)

  3. 3)We have improved speech coding strategies in the cochlear implants by technical solutions and are authors of several new patents in this area (Prof. A. Büchner).

  4. 4)We have clarified the contribution of cross-modal reorganization and cognitive adaptations to the outcomes of cochlear implants in children (Prof. A. Kral). We have suggested a new clinical syndrome (Aural preference syndrome) and clarified the neuronal mechanisms in its development (Prof. A. Kral)



involved institutes:

  1. Institute of Physics, UO

  2. ENT Clinics, MHH

  3. Institute of Biology, UO

  4. Institute of Psychology, UO

  5. Institute of AudioNeuroTechnology (VIANNA), MHH

  6. Hörzentrum Oldenburg

  7. Hörzentrum Hannover

  8. Neurology Clinics, MHH

  9. Neurosurgery Clinics, MHH

  10. Institute of Quantum Optics, LUH

  11. Institute of Microelectronic Systems, LUH

  12. Institute of Anorganic Chemistry, LUH

  13. Laser Center Hannover

  14. Frauenhofer Institute Oldenburg

  15. Jade College, Oldenburg

After being awarded with the cluster in 2013, from left to right: Prof. B. Chichkov, Prof. T. Doll, Dr. M. Wollweber, Prof. T. Lenarz, PD A. Büchner, Prof. R. Dengler, Prof. A. Kral.

Photo: B. Bandel

Cluster of Excellence of the German Science Society

Goals of the cluster Hearing4All:

The incidence of hearing loss is very high (inborn: 0.1 %; after 65th year of age: ~50%). The diversity of etiologies requires medical progress in diagnosis and therapy, technological improvements in hearing aids and neuroprosthetic devices, but also improvements in consumer electronics used in every day life. The principal investigators (PIs) of the cluster want to improve therapy and technological support of hearing loss by developing new diagnostic tools and a new pathophysiology-based individualized therapeutic approach that will stimulate the engineering of better hearing devices and ubiquitous assistive technologies, as well as the design of new auditory implants. By combining basic, clinical, translational and applied research with clinical service, engineering and applications the envisaged cluster aims major breakthroughs in hearing research and rehabilitation technology.

The cluster includes institutions working on diagnosis and therapy of hearing loss, on design of consumer electronics, hearing aids and auditory implants. The methods include signal (speech) processing, technology improvements and research in auditory neuroscience on pathophysiology of hearing loss and consequences of hearing loss on the brain

The cluster includes medical doctors and biologists as well as engineers and physicists working on the topic of hearing for all situations and conditions of life. The cluster includes an integrated programm for graduation and academic career up to the level of a tenured professor.

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