Universiteit Leiden

nl en

'When a deaf child suddenly hears and learns to talk, this also has a huge impact on the people around them.'

More than 800,000 people in the Netherlands are hard of hearing. They suffer so much from hearing loss that it limits their daily lives. Professor Johan Frijns treats people with hearing loss, conducts research on hearing implants, and gladly shares his knowledge about electrical stimulation of the nervous system.

Johan Frijns

Johan Frijns is a professor of Otology and Physics of Hearing in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at LUMC. He heads the Center for Audiology and Hearing Implants Leiden (CAHIL) and the Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation Centre Leiden (CIRCLE). He was recently appointed as a Medical Delta professor with a position at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science at TU Delft.

Can you briefly explain what your expertise is?

'As an ear surgeon and head of the LUMC expert center for rare ear diseases, I treat people with hearing loss. In addition to my surgical work, I research hearing implants that electrically stimulate the auditory nerve or brainstem.

Currently, many deaf and severely hearing-impaired individuals can benefit from electrical inner ear prostheses, also known as cochlear implants or CIs. With these implants, they can recognize sounds and speech. Adults are better able to communicate with the outside world because of this. In children, CIs can facilitate the development of spoken language, enabling them to often attend regular education after treatment. This makes an enormous difference for someone.'

You have been appointed as a Medical Delta professor. What does that mean for you?

'For me, it means going back to my roots. Almost 40 years ago, I graduated as a physicist from TU Delft. I have always maintained contact with and supervised students in Delft. That is how I became involved in the Clinical Technology and Technical Medicine programs. 'Because you embody technical medicine,' said my dean at LUMC. Now, this has been formalized, and I find it extremely exciting.

I am not sure if much will change now. I already collaborate a lot with Wouter Serdijn's Bioelectronics department in Delft. We have several ongoing projects and have made new plans. Together with him, I am part of NeurotechNL, an initiative from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). This led to major projects where we regularly encounter each other. What I hope Medical Delta brings me is easier accessibility and the ability to reach others more easily.'

Introduction Medical Delta professor Johan Frijns

Due to the selected cookie settings, we cannot show this video here.

Watch the video on the original website or

The full interview can be read on the Medical Delta website.

This website uses cookies.  More information.