Ear and Hearing

Background and research focus


The otology-audiology group has built up expertise in the field of hearing loss, with focus on genetic research of deafness, (re)habilitation of hearing loss and balance. Congenital cytomegalovirusinfection as a cause of deafness is a major research domain. 

Our cochlear implant center has over the recent years evolved to one of the most important CI centers in Belgium with research in the field of outcome after implantation, hearing preservation and academic achievement of implanted children. 

We are one of the founding members of The Ghent Auditory Science Platform – GASP- a collaboration between several research groups from the faculties of Medicine, Engineering, and Psychology at Ghent University conducting joint research in auditory science. Our topics range from precision hearing diagnostics to developing (wearable) technologies for hearing loss and tinnitus prevention, as well as cochlear implantation, signal-processing for hearing aids and the impact of the acoustic environment in humans. Key to all our projects is our interdisciplinary approach in which otolaryngology & audiology, numerical, and psychophysical and engineering techniques are combined to tackle open challenges in hearing science.

Research focus

  • Prevention, diagnostics and therapy in (congenital) hearing loss 

  • Cochlear implantation 

  • Balance and motor development in hearing impaired children 

  • Tinnitus 

  • Hair cell regeneration and gene therapy 

  • Epidemiologic research on middle ear problems in palatoschisis 

  • Ear surgery: outcome and predictor studies 

  • Evidence-based otorhinolaryngological surgery with patient centered outcomes


Professors and Guest Professors

Frederic Acke 

Els De Leenheer

Ingeborg Dhooge (contact person)

Helen Van Hoecke

Postdoctoral researchers

Nele Baudonck (Ghent University Hospital)

Ann Deklerck (Ghent University Hospital)

Freya Swinnen (Ghent University Hospital)

PhD candidates

Dorien Ceuleers

Elise De Cuyper

Nele De Poortere (Department of Rehabilitation Sciences)

Lena Van den Bossche

Heleen Van Der Biest

National and international collaborations

University of Nijmegen 

Since many years our research group has a strong scientific collaboration with the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. This has resulted in a number of shared publications and PhD dissertations. Prof. Emmanuel Mylanus has been appointed associate professor at the University of Ghent.

University of Amsterdam 

Recently, a collaboration was established with the VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In two joint PhD projects the long-term outcomes of CI users are studied. Both projects focus on the inclusion of CI users in mainstream and higher education.

University of Leuven 

Over the years we have collaborated in a number of scientific projects with the team of Exp-ORL, Leuven. An ongoing project coordinated by Prof. Astrid van Wieringen (Exp-ORL Leuven) investigates possible adverse effects of unilateral deafness on speech- and language development and cognitive development of a child and examines the possible benefit of a cochlear implantation.

Defended PhDs (last 5 years)

Ann Deklerck (2020)