Otology and Neurotology
As the world’s largest auditory science research center, our doctors are also the scientists driving research that is advancing knowledge and moving the entire field of otology and neurotology forward.
Ongoing initiatives include investigation related to:
- Hearing reconstruction and acoustical impact
- Cochlear implants
- Brainstem implants
- Investigating genetic causes of hearing loss
- Sudden deafness and autoimmune inner ear disease
Additionally, the otology service provides training for Harvard Medical School students and students visiting from other institutions. A five-year otolaryngology residency program is offered as well as a two-year neurotology fellowship.
Otoneurology is an important area of clinical research here at Mass. Eye and Ear, where ongoing, federally-funded research initiatives are investigating topics including:
- Vestibular implantable prosthesis—an artificial implantable balance device that could revolutionize balance and dizziness treatment the way cochlear implants have impacted surgical correction for hearing impairment
- Development of a specific testing protocol for migraine—today, medicine has no definitive test for migraine
- Electrical nerve stimulation
As a leading institution in vestibular research, some of our current research initiatives include:
- Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP) testing: An inner ear reflex test that could prove invaluable in early detection of Ménière’s disease and other balance disorders
- An ambulatory vestibular monitor: A portable, self-powered monitor, worn by patients, that records vestibular function and other indicators over the course of a few days of normal activity
- Vestibular prosthesis: For patients who have lost function in their own balance organs, this would be provide both a wearable and an implantable version
Our clinical commitment is strengthened by our dedicated vestibular research program, where basic scientists, engineers, and physicians are working to overcome the limitations of clinical vestibular testing to improve diagnosis, while also developing rehabilitative strategies, such as balance aids and vestibular implants.
To address the shortage of physicians around the world specializing in vestibular disorders, we also established the Neskey-Coghlan Fellowship in Balance and Vestibular Disorders, a one-year post-residency fellowship program to train qualified physicians in the diagnosis and management of patients with balance and vestibular disorders.