At the University of Chicago Medicine, our expert team of ear surgeons (otologists/neurotologists), audiologists, nurses and speech-language pathologists provides comprehensive ear and hearing care.

The best treatment plan begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation. Our team includes highly skilled audiologists who perform hearing and balance evaluations for all age groups. An array of tests is available, including:

  • Otoacoustic emission testing to assess cochlear hair cell function
  • Speech assessments
  • Brainstem auditory evoked response testing, which measures brain wave activity in response to tones and clicks

State-of-the-art testing facilities are located within our outpatient clinic in the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine.

Today, several options exist to improve or restore hearing in people of any age who experience hearing loss. After a thorough hearing and medical evaluation to determine the source of the hearing loss, our board-certified ear surgeons recommend the best options for hearing health, which may include one or more of the following solutions:

  • Hearing aids, including completely-in-the-canal hearing aids to behind-the-ear devices. Our audiologists are highly skilled in helping patients select the best hearing aid and in ensuring a comfortable fit.
  • Cochlear implants. When hearing aids are not enough, cochlear implants offer the ability to restore hearing in most cases of inner ear (sensorineural) hearing loss.
  • Implantable hearing devices. Our physicians are highly experienced in implanting various types of aids, including bone-conduction hearing devices.
  • Surgical procedures to repair middle ear bones, including ossiculoplasty (reconstruction of the middle ear bones) and stapedotomy (treatment for otosclerosis which involves replacing the stapes bone with a prosthetic device)
  • Surgical procedures to repair the eardrum, including tympanoplasty and myringoplasty


UChicago Medicine ear surgeons have a special interest in the assessment and treatment of chronic ear disease, including:

  • Chronic ear infection (otitis media, mastoiditis)
  • Cholesteatoma, an abnormal growth of skin into the middle ear
  • Mastoid cavity care, including follow-up care and surgery for patients previously treated for abnormal skin growth in the middle ear (cholesteatoma)
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction, which occurs when the Eustachian tube (connection from the nose to the ear) fails to open properly
  • Eardrum collapse (tympanic membrane collapse) and eardrum perforation
  • Conductive hearing loss, due to damage to the eardrum, hearing bones (ossicles) or persistent infection
  • Revision surgery of the eardrum, mastoid and middle ear when previous surgery has been unsuccessful or when ear diseases or infection have recurred

At the UChicago Medicine, tumors of the ear and skull base are managed by a team of surgical specialists, including ear surgeons, head and neck surgeons, plastic surgeons and neurosurgeons who work together to recommend the best treatment option, which may include surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery (a form of radiation therapy) or "watchful waiting" if immediate treatment is not necessary. Tumors treated by this team include:

  • Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma)
  • Glomus tumors (paraganglioma)
  • Cancer of the ear and skull base
  • Lesions of the petrous apex, which is part of the skull base near the ear

In addition, these experts also treat:

  • Disorders and trauma of the facial nerve
  • Defects of the skull base with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak

The inner ear's vestibular system plays a key role in balance. Our audiologists perform a variety of tests to determine the functional status of the inner ear balance system. Our physician team collaborates with other UChicago Medicine and community-based specialists in neurology, psychiatry, physical therapy and occupational therapy to develop comprehensive treatment plans. Some of the balance disorders treated by our team include the following:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), also known as positional vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • Meniere's disease, which causes episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss
  • Vestibular neuritis, an inflammation of the vestibular nerve
  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome, a rare disorder that results in some combination of fullness, tinnitus, sensitivity, hearing loss and/or dizziness

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