The medical subspecialty of otoneurology is focused on the interface between the ear and brain. Otoneurology is a very limited subspecialty, and Mass. Eye and Ear is one of the few hospitals in the country with a dedicated Otoneurology Service.
The ear and brain coordinate a delicate balance, working in concert to produce and process the information we interpret as sound and our sense of balance and position. Concentrating on that ear/brain relationship, Mass. Eye and Ear’s otoneurology specialists are expert at diagnosis and treatment of problems associated with a variety of diseases, problems and symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Dizziness, vertigo and balance problems
- Neurological problems like Parkinson's, cerebellar dysfunction, Chiari malformation, multiple sclerosis, stroke and brainstem stroke
- Tumors and abnormalities from birth
- Injury (trauma) and decompression issues
- Abnormal eye movement and vision disturbances
Working closely with other departments at Mass. Eye and Ear, the Otoneurology Service puts its expertise and experience to work solving problems and forging solutions and a plan for treatment and management.
The Otoneurology Service has deep expertise in diagnosis, using testing procedures developed for otoneurological investigation at Mass. Eye and Ear, along with specialized X-ray and other imaging technologies. Treatment and management in otoneurology are limited to action without surgery. Patients who need surgery are referred to the appropriate surgical specialty area.
Otoneurology physicians and other specialists will be called in when physical problems in the ear are ruled out and the problem appears to be in the relationship between the ear and the brain. An example would be vertigo present when no problems or deformities exist directly in the inner ear, which houses organs critical to our sense of balance. This vertigo could be the result of a brain malfunction, infection or the manifestation of migraine symptoms.
Mass. Eye and Ear draws people of all ages, from all over the world, seeking solutions to otoneurological problems. Mass General also has otoneurologists on staff who work closely with Mass. Eye and Ear’s Otoneurology Service in diagnoses and treatment.
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