Exzellencluster im Auditory Valley
Research area A: Improving Diagnostics for Better Individualized Treatment
In many individuals current diagnostic approaches cannot identify the etiology and pathophysiology of their hearing loss. In order to overcome some of the limitations, the cluster establishes a theory-driven diagnostic framework based on a unifying model of auditory functional mechanisms.
It develops new diagnostic tools based on results from animal experiments and human data obtained with invasive and non-invasive procedures, and will exploit the opportunity to use auditory implants for diagnostic purposes (so-called ‘theragnostic implants’, e.g., inner ear probe). This approach will allow audiological diagnostics to be transformed into an ‘exact’ science that benefits from the interplay between experiment and theory as well as between fundamental science and clinical research.
The research area will focus on three goals:
(1) Developing new diagnostic tools to better assess the pathophysiology of hearing disorders by evaluating auditory function in animal models with a known pathophysiology and relating the findings to the clinical picture in humans.
(2) Pursuing a ‘theragnostic’ approach for improving hearing devices and rehabilitative concepts. At the cochlear level a multi-modal stimulation and recording device (inner ear probe) based on a hearing-preserving inner ear surgery will be developed. To further characterize the functional status of the subsequent stages of the auditory system in the patient, the recording features of auditory im-plants will be used as diagnostic tools alongside the targeted restoration of hearing.
(3) Achieving an individual characterization of hearing loss in the given patient including central (cognitive) factors to improve patient performance prediction leading to an optimized treatment strategy of the individual patient with hearing devices and associated rehabilitation strategy.
Research Area Leaders
Prof. Prof. h.c. Dr. Thomas LenarzDeputy Coordinator; Hannover/MHH: ORL Contact
Prof. Dr. Dr. Birger KollmeierCoordinator; Oldenburg/UOL: Medical Physics Contact