Neuronal development of hearing and language: cochlear implants and critical periods

Andrej Kral*, Michael F. Dorman, Blake S. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The modern cochlear implant (CI) is the most successful neural prosthesis developed to date. CIs provide hearing to the profoundly hearing impaired and allow the acquisition of spoken language in children born deaf. Results from studies enabled by the CI have provided new insights into (a) minimal representations at the periphery for speech reception, (b) brain mechanisms for decoding speech presented in quiet and in acoustically adverse conditions, (c) the developmental neuroscience of language and hearing, and (d) the mechanisms and time courses of intramodal and cross-modal plasticity. Additionally, the results have underscored the interconnectedness of brain functions and the importance of top-down processes in perception and learning. The findings are described in this review with emphasis on the developing brain and the acquisition of hearing and spoken language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-65
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Neuroscience
Early online date30 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Cochlear Implants
  • Critical Periods
  • Deafness
  • Developmental Plasticity
  • Speech Perception
  • Speech Production


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