Otology is the branch of medicine focused on the structure and function of the ear, including hearing and balance disorders, and other related injuries, damage or disease of the skull base. The related field of Neurotology provides surgical care to the nerves that connect the ear and brain. Otoneurology is a subspecialty of Neurology that provides medical care to the nerves and brain, especially as they relate to balance.
The Otology Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is comprised of these Otology/Neurotology and Otoneurology specialists, plus Audiology and Vestibular diagnostic services. The Audiology Department administers tens of thousands of hearing tests, manages more than 1,000 hearing aids cases, and provides rehabilitation services for some 1000 cochlear implant performed here each year.
The Jenks Vestibular Diagnostic Laboratory performs nearly 1,200 test batteries yearly to aid in the diagnosis of people with dizziness, vertigo and balance disorders. Our operating rooms are specially equipped, staffed and dedicated for the unique demands of ear surgery. The Otology Service is experienced in diagnosis, treatment and management of a wide range of problems, including:
- Conductive hearing loss – when sound waves can not get through to the inner ear
- Sensorineural hearing loss – when sound waves get through but cannot be transmitted to the brain through nerve impulses
- Sudden deafness and autoimmune inner ear disease
- Balance Disorders – including dizziness, spinning and vertigo
- Facial nerve disorders – including twitching, distortion and paralysis
- Ear Infections
- Tumors – including benign and malignant lesions, acoustic neuromas and glomus tumors
- Congenital disorders, including surgical reconstruction of malformations of the external ear, ear canal and middle ear
A Coordinated Approach to Otology Care
All the professionals in the Otology Service work collaboratively to orchestrate a total and comprehensive approach to ear-related diagnosis and treatment for both adults and children.
- The Audiology Department coordinates hearing testing and treatment strategy development
- The Cochlear Implant Program specializes in placing tiny electronic components in the inner ear to reverse hearing loss.
- The Hearing Aid Center works to provide the best choices in adaptive devices and training for each individual case.
- The Jenks Vestibular Diagnostic Laboratory is focused on testing and research related to vestibular disorders, issues of balance and dizziness.
- The Radiology Department conducts imaging testing for assessment of the ear, including CT and MRI.
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