Frühe Hörerfahrung und sensible Entwicklungsphasen

Translated title of the contribution: Early hearing experience and sensitive developmental periods

A. Kral*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the studies on functional deficits in the auditory cortex of congenitally deaf animals. It compares their results with psychophysical and imaging data obtained from prelingually deaf humans. The studies demonstrate that the development of the auditory cortex is affected by the absence of hearing experience. In humans, the restoration of hearing after congenital deafness shows a sensitive period of 4 years, whereas even within this sensitive period cortical plasticity is already decreasing with increasing age. The reasons for the sensitive period are developmental changes of synaptic plasticity, developmentally modified synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning as well as changes in connectivity of the auditory cortex. Absence of top-down interactions from higher order auditory areas is another cardinal reason for the sensitive period. All these mechanisms contribute to the decreasing capacity for cortical plasticity during postnatal development. From the developmental and neurophysiological point of view, an early identification of hearing loss is an important prerequisite for effective therapy.

Translated title of the contributionEarly hearing experience and sensitive developmental periods
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bottom-up effects
  • Deafness
  • Early detection
  • Sensitive period
  • Top-down effects


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