Meet a Specialist: David Jung, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. David Jung, a board-certified member of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Otology Division, became interested in medicine early in life. Dr. Jung explains, “My father is an ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist, so I was introduced to the medical field when I was very young. I was able to witness his dedication to helping patients, as well as his passion for research, at such a young age. Medicine became so incredibly interesting to me, and I knew I would strive to become a clinician-scientist one day.”
Although Dr. Jung considered several specialties before deciding to focus on otology, his greatest passion was always the ear. “The anatomy of the ear is so complex, and a huge variety of conditions and problems are associated with the ear. Having the opportunity to treat patients and dramatically improve their quality of life, was so appealing to me,” he explains. “Treatments that improve a patient’s hearing can be so dramatic – especially if someone has been suffering from hearing loss for a long period of time. There is no better feeling than when a patient is able to leave my office, and hear his children or grandchildren clearly, for the first time in years.”
As an otologist and skull base surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Jung works as both a physician and a scientist. He sees adults and children for a wide range of ear-related diseases and disorders. Dr. Jung mentions, “I treat patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including chronic ear infections, hearing loss, outer ear cancers, vestibular schwannomas (benign tumors of the ear), and patients suffering from dizziness.”
Depending on his patient’s specific condition, Dr. Jung provides treatment in the form of medical therapy or surgery. A patient suffering from sudden hearing loss might benefit most from medication, while an adult with fluid in the ears could require ear tubes. “The huge spectrum of ear and balance-related conditions means that no two treatments are exactly alike,” Dr. Jung stresses. “For example, if a patient is suffering from Meniere’s disease, which can cause dizziness and difficulty hearing, we might first start a treatment plan focused on dietary modifications and behavioral changes. Reducing or eliminating salt or caffeine from a patient’s diet could adequately control symptoms for that person, while other patients may require additional in-office procedures or surgery to treat the dizziness,” Dr. Jung explains.
Dr. Jung’s ultimate goal is to provide a treatment plan that will most improve his patient’s quality of life. In certain instances, surgery might be needed to meet that goal. “One of the most rewarding aspects of being an otology specialist is when I can help someone regain his or her hearing,” Dr. Jung says. “In particular, I remember a patient who was completely overcome with emotion when her cochlear implant was turned on after undergoing her procedure; she was finally able to hear, after struggling with hearing aids for years. It was such a powerful moment – I will never forget that.”
In addition to treating patients, Dr. Jung devotes much time and effort to research. “Mass. Eye and Ear has the largest vision and hearing research center in the world, and we’re involved in a number of ear-related research programs,” Dr. Jung explains. “Finding a cure for age-related hearing loss is really the ultimate goal in most of my research at Mass. Eye and Ear.” Recently, Dr. Jung worked to find ways that medications can be administered into the cochlea in more efficient ways. He says, “Eventually, I plan to expand on those findings, and focus on individual hearing loss therapies for patients. We have made such huge hearing-related advances recently at Mass. Eye and Ear. I look forward to conducting even more comprehensive, clinical studies in the future.”
Dr. Jung stresses the collaboration that takes place at Mass. Eye and Ear between research and clinical programs. “I frequently see patients who are suffering from a specific condition that can be fixed through medication or surgery, but my biggest question is always why the patient is suffering from this problem in the first place,” Dr. Jung says. “At Mass. Eye and Ear, I have the opportunity to research these questions on my own, and also discuss concerns with my colleagues. The other researchers and physicians are an incredible resource, and the collaboration really helps us gain additional perspectives. This, in turn, leads to even better outcomes for our patients.”
Dr. Jung concludes, “I constantly strive to deliver the best care available, and to improve my patients’ quality of life. Mass. Eye and Ear has helped me accomplish this goal.”
Contact Dr. Jung’s office at 617-573-4102.
View Dr. Jung’s online bio for more information.
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