Jens Hjortkjær and Torsten Dau

New research centre will strengthen hearing health

Wednesday 09 Feb 22

Contact

Jens Hjortkjær
Associate Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 30 29 16 90

Contact

Torsten Dau
Head of Sections, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 39 77

Contact

Thomas Lars Andresen
Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 25 37 44 86

About the centre

The initiators behind the new centre are Senior Researcher Jens Hjortkjær, Professor Torsten Dau, and Professor Thomas Andresen. The centre will start in early 2022.

The centre is supported by the William Demant Foundation with DKK 16.9 million.

Theme on health technology

Since 2010, the number of engineers in the healthcare system has increased by 22 percent, so that in 2019, 553 engineers were directly employed in the healthcare system. In a theme on health technology, DTU writes about developments in areas such as medical imaging technology, artificial intelligence and sensors, and portable equipment. Technology that supports doctors creates opportunities for faster diagnosis and treatment and increases quality.

The Centre for Auditory Neuroscience will provide fundamental knowledge that will enable better solutions for hearing impaired.

Denmark is world-leading in applied hearing technology. However, if we want to stay ahead and solve complex challenges for hearing impaired persons, we need to focus on the fundamental neurobiology of hearing.

With the opening of Centre for Auditory Neuroscience in early 2022, DTU Health Tech will establish a world-leading infrastructure for research within auditory neuroimaging, cognitive auditory neuroscience, and neural hearing technology at DTU via close collaborations with hospitals, the hearing industry and international research partners.

Understanding the brain

"We believe that key challenges in hearing health are associated with the brain"
Senior Researcher Jens Hjortkjær

“We believe that key challenges in hearing health are associated with the brain, which is why we want to go further into the domain of auditory neuroscience to develop future solutions for people with hearing loss”, Senior Researcher Jens Hjortkjær says.

One part of the new centre will advance imaging technologies to see into the inner ear and the auditory system. A goal is to advance new imaging tools to better understand the link between age-related hearing loss and degenerative brain diseases, such as dementia, to better prevent them and promote healthy aging.

A second part of the centre will focus on understanding the auditory brain and the brain processes involved in listening. A significant challenge is to better understand how the brain allows listeners to decode complex sound environments, e.g. by focusing attention on a specific speaker in a busy acoustic scene. The research activities within auditory cognitive neuroscience will also push towards novel neural technologies, such as brain-steered hearing aids that enhance those sounds that a user is focusing attention on.

“The new centre is an exciting opportunity for us to establish a core auditory neuroscience capacity at DTU where we can, together with our colleagues from the hospitals, industry and our department, advance auditory neuroimaging and neuro-based hearing technologies as the basis for new treatments and pharmacological interventions”, Professor Torsten Dau concludes.

Photo caption: Senior Researcher Jens Hjortkjær and Professor Torsten Dau (Photo by Jesper Scheel)