Meet a Specialist: Ronald de Venecia, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. de VeneciaDr. Ronald de Venecia, a board-certified otolaryngologist at Mass. Eye and Ear, grew up as part of a medical family in the Philippines, where as a child he watched operations instead of television. He comes from a long legacy of physicians and surgeons, including an aunt who was the first female valedictorian of Harvard Medical School and his father who was the first Filipino board certified in general surgery in the United States. Dr. de Venecia knew early on that he wanted to establish a career in science or medicine, and in his academic years he found himself developing a strong interest in neuroscience and communication disorders.

After studying the biological basis of behavior (neuroscience) at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. de Venecia attended the MD/PhD program at the University of Maryland. There, he cultivated a relationship with a mentor who was studying the auditory cortex and helped shape Dr. de Venecia’s career as a physician and surgeon. The pair transitioned to the University of Arizona, where Dr. de Venecia was able to work with scientists from the best neuroscience programs in the world, including scientists from Harvard.

Dr. de Venecia continued on to Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School to complete his residency in otolaryngology. At Mass. Eye and Ear, he completed his post-doctoral research studying the central auditory system, which is the system in the body responsible for hearing. He also initiated the auditory brain stem implant program at Mass. Eye and Ear, a team comprised of audiologists, neurologists, surgeons and scientists who provide team-based care for patients who suffer from conditions that destroy the auditory nerve making treatments like cochlear implants impossible.

As an otology and neurotology specialist at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. de Venecia provides care for patients suffering from disorders of the ear that cause hearing loss and imbalance. Located at the Mass. Eye and Ear main campus, Dr. de Venecia is focused primarily on teaching and clinical care. Dr. de Venecia directs residency training programs, teaches the Harvard Medical School temporal bone course, and is very involved in the Mass. Eye and Ear Global Surgery program, where he recently taught a temporal bone course at Mbarara University in East Africa.

As for his clinical work, Dr. de Venecia treats adult patients suffering from a full range of ear and skull base problems. Since he sees many patients with chronic ear problems, he focuses mainly on controlling their disease process and restoring their hearing, performing procedures to reconstruct the middle ear sound conduction system, and cochlear implants that restore hearing sensation by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve.  In fact, he says most patients see improvements within months and that, “One of the biggest rewards of otology is being able to dramatically improve patients’ quality of life by putting them back in touch with auditory world.

Dr. de Venecia is well-versed in surgical procedures for various chronic ear diseases, including mastoidectomies, the removal of the diseased air cells that sit behind the middle ear, as well as treatments for conditions like otosclerosis, a disorder of bone remolding which leads to hearing loss. In addition, Dr. de Venecia has a large population of patients diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, which causes deafness, tinnitus and vertigo, for which treatment options can be both medical and surgical. However, Dr. de Venecia tries to control the disease medically before resorting to more invasive actions, which can range from drug injections into the middle ear to open surgical procedures.

Most importantly, Dr. de Venecia prides himself on putting his patients first. He wants current and future patients to know that, “There isn’t one treatment for one specific disease.” He vows to consider the whole patient when deciding on a course of treatment and truly strives to empower his patients through education. He says, “One of the biggest aspects of dealing with chronic disease is to have an understanding of the whole disease process and the reasoning behind treatment so that the patient can become empowered to deal with his or her diagnosis. I strive to empower my patients, because if they understand their disease, they are better equipped to live a full, high-quality life.”

Contact Dr. de Venecia’s office at 617-573-3715.

View Dr. de Venecia’s online bio for more information.

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