Otology and Neurotology Overview

At Mayo Clinic, people with disorders of the ear are treated by a multidisciplinary team of experts whose medical and surgical practice is dedicated to managing hearing loss, infections of the ear, cholesteatoma, and tumors involving the ear and skull (otologists and neurotologists). With the otology and neurotology specialty group of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT)/Head and Neck Surgery you receive comprehensive care for the diagnosis and treatment of your condition. And you have access to counseling, medical and surgical treatment, rehabilitation, and follow-up care.

Comprehensive care for ear conditions

The experts of the otology and neurotology specialty group use the latest technology and techniques, including microsurgery, reconstructive surgery and implantable hearing devices. Conditions treated include all ear conditions, from common to complex:

  • Hearing loss. The two main types of hearing loss are conductive and nerve (sensorineural). About 1 in 1,000 children are born with advanced nerve hearing loss. In adults the most common cause of hearing loss is advancing age. Nerve hearing loss is initially treated with hearing aids. If the hearing loss progresses to a more severe level, cochlear implants offer a very good treatment option for many people.
  • Cochlear implants. Each year Mayo Clinic surgeons perform more than 150 cochlear implants. The clinic is a leading center in the United States for this procedure. Mayo Clinic offers the latest technology available for cochlear implants, including hybrid cochlear implants and cochlear implantation for single-sided deafness.
  • Otosclerosis. Otosclerosis is a condition where the third bone of hearing does not move as well as it should. This causes conductive hearing loss. If the condition is mild, treatment may not be necessary. When hearing loss becomes more advanced, hearing aids or surgery may be effective treatment options. Mayo Clinic doctors offer a surgical procedure called stapedectomy for treatment of this condition. A single outpatient surgery can often permanently and completely reverse this type of hearing loss and provide many years of hearing improvement.
  • Chronic ear infections. Long-standing (chronic) ear infections of the middle ear (otitis media) may occur as a result of a hole in the eardrum or an irregular growth of skin behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma). Treatment may involve eardrops, antibiotics or surgery. Mayo Clinic doctors are experienced in a procedure called tympanomastoidectomy. It involves eliminating the infection and, if needed, rebuilding the small bones of hearing. The primary goals of treatment are to reduce the risk of future complications from ongoing infection and to improve hearing when possible.
  • Acoustic neuroma. Acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas) are noncancerous (benign) tumors that grow from the hearing and balance nerve between the ear and the brain. Mayo Clinic has a long history of treating acoustic neuromas successfully with several approaches, including observation, stereotactic radiosurgery, hearing preservation surgery and nonhearing preservation surgery. The clinic evaluates hundreds of people each year for acoustic neuroma. It's a leading center in the world for clinical care and research for this condition.

Mayo Clinic otology and neurotology specialists treat offer a full range of surgical services and procedures, though not all are available at each location. Please confirm when you request an appointment.

Your treatment team

At Mayo Clinic, ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists (otorhinolaryngologists) work with audiologists, speech and language pathologists, physical therapists, radiologists, pathologists and neurosurgeons to provide comprehensive care. Other professionals are included as needed. This multidisciplinary team of experts works together so that you get exactly the care you need in an efficient and timely manner.

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