(© Hearing4All)
Clusters of Excellence


The long-term aim of "Hearing4all" is to solve the major problem of hearing impairment in our communication-oriented, ageing society by providing research-driven solutions to improve hearing for all listeners, i.e. for all kinds of hearing impairments, in all listening situations, and for all domains of everyday life. Hearing

impairment is the most frequent chronic neurosensory disease (progressively affecting 17% of our population); it has one of the highest impacts on the quality of life and often leads to social isolation. Hearing aids, auditory implants and other treatments therefore need to become more effective than the currently unsatisfactory state-of-the-art.

Hearing4all encompasses all the research expertise needed to fulfil patients’ needs through groundbreaking, individually tailored hearing solutions for all kinds of hearing impairment, ranging from near-normal listeners to deaf patients. By combining science-based functional auditory diagnostic methods with models of auditory processing in the normal and impaired auditory system, the most effective hearing solutions and medical treatment for the future will be sought, based on highly innovative algorithms, biomaterials and architectures for future generations of individually tailored hearing devices. The wide spectrum of combined expertise from basic science, engineering, and machine learning oriented towards clinical medicine allows a personalized approach to identify the causes of hearing impairment and of its amelioration.

The research consortium from universities, non-university research institutions, and industry in the “Auditory Valley” network is in an internationally leading position to achieve solutions for the long-term goal of the Cluster of Excellence and to attain a paradigm shift in rehabilitative audiology from a descriptive empirical discipline towards a quantitative, model- and data-driven science.The new initiative builds on the achievements and unique innovations from the current first funding period of the cluster. These include multilingual speech recognition tests, auditory midbrain implants or precise, aided patient performance prediction with machine learning, which aim at better diagnosis, better hearing devices and better assistive technology in hearing support. To further advance Hearing4all into mobile Health solutions with a “virtual hearing clinic” for everyone – that includes a “software hearing device” and builds up auditory precision medicine with groundbreaking hearing device technology – we will pursue four ambitious and comprehensive research threads. These span two orthogonal dimensions: “Development chain: from basic research to solutions” and “Severity of hearing loss”. The Excellence Centre for Hearing Research (Oldenburg/Hannover), the Joint Research Academy, and the Translational Research Centre will be developed as sustainable joint structures across the participating universities, coordinating basic, clinical and translational research.

Involved Institutions:

  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Toxikologie und Experimentelle Medizin (ITEM)
  • Hörzentrum Oldenburg gGmbH
  • Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
  • Jade Hochschule

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