Chair of Auditory Neuroscience

Andrej Kral, MD, PhD

Fellow of the German National Academy of Science

Professor of Auditory Neuroscience (Hannover)

Professor of Systems Neuroscience (Sydney)

Adj. Professor of Cognition & Neuroscience (Dallas)

➤ Highlights of the labHighlights.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0
➤ CollaborationsCollaborations.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0

Dr. Peter Baumhoff

Dr. Peter Hubka

Dr. Wiebke Konerding

Dr. Rüdiger Land 

Dr. Mika Sato

Dr. Daniel Schurzig

Brilliant, MSc.

Dorota Sznabel, MSc.

Monique Hajduk, MUC.

Valerie C. Cholewa, MUC.

Lea Sollmann, MSc.

Niloofar Tavakoli, MSc.

Manuela Chambers

Daniela Kühne

    Our research is focused on „nature and nurture“ in brain development, on developmental consequences of deafness, methods of its compensation by neuroprostheses and the adaptation of the brain to the neuroprosthetic stimulation. So far, the cochlear implant has been the clinically most successful neuroprosthetic device. We work on its further improvements and search for alternative ways of the stimulation of neurons in general, including stimulation within the central auditory system and the brain.

    As brain development depends on experience, the most devastating effects on the brain are observed when hearing loss sets in during childhood. We could show that in congenitally deaf animals feature sensitivity and representation of auditory space are degraded, indicating degraded disrcimination ability. Formation of auditory categories (“objects”), control of auditory plasticity (learning) and integration of sensory input into ongoing cortical activity are further compromised, partly due to the malfunction of auditory microcircuits. These deficits lead to the inability to compute errors between prediction about sensory input and actual sensory input. This prediction error drives learning in hearing-competent adult subjects. In congenital deafness, some of the auditory cortex is even recruited for non-auditory function (cross-modal reorganization). Congenital deafness consequently leads to widespread brain adaptations, including higher-level functions, as suggested by the connectome model of deafness. When hearing restoration takes place late in life, auditory learning capacity is reduced and deficits in representation of auditory input persist. We discovered the neural correlate of sensitive (critical) periods for cochlear implantation: the earlier in life cochlear implantation is performed, the faster and better is the adaptation of the primary auditory cortex to the implant and the more extensive is the compensation of the deficits induced by congenital deafness. We could uncover several neural mechanisms responsible for such sensitive periods.

    Recently, we described a reorganized brain representation of the ears following inborn single-sided deafness and were the first to demonstrate its neural correlate and a sensitive period for its therapy. It likely constitutes a clinical syndrome that we suggested to call aural preference syndrome. First data from implanted kids with single-sided deafness by many centers around the world support this suggestion.

    Outcomes of therapy of hearing are still characterized by large variability. Our goal is to built the scientific base for a comprehensive differential diagnosis and therapy of sensory loss tailored to the needs of the individual subject, by that eliminating this variability. Our research focuses on cochlear health and on the variability of the microanatomy of the human cochlea.

Prof. Andrej Kral, MD, PhD

Chair, Dept. of Experimental Otology

Cluster of Excellence Hearing4All

Stadtfelddamm 34

D-30625 Hannover, Germany


Lab funding:

„Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft“


European Union

National Science Foundation, USA

(collaboration with DLR, Germany)

German Academic Exchange Service


Industry & foundation grants:

MedEl Corp., Innsbruck, Austria

Oticon Foundation, Denmark

Advanced Bionics GmbH, Germany


December 2022: 
A study on acute effects of hearing loss on rat cognition published. Paper

Paper in press on polarity effects in facial nerve stimu-lation.

October 2022: 
A. Kral appointed editor of Hearing Research

August 2022:
Summating potentials recorded with CI can prevent cochlear implantation close to the residual hearing cochlear partition. >>> Paper

March/April 2022:
Variations in microanatomy of human cochlear modiolar wall  >>> Paper

February 2022:
Recurrent brain processing in hearing and deafness >>> Paper

January 2022: 
Effects of small cochlear lesions on compund action potentials >>> Paper 

December 2021: 
New paper on aging and temporal processing in the midbrain published PDF

Student introductory textbook for Neuroprosthetics out - >>> Link

„The Lady and the Unicorn: Hearing“.

Unknown flamish artist, 15th century.