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Comprehensive Ear and Hearing Center

University of Chicago Medicine ear and hearing health team From left to right: Pediatric otolaryngologist Dana Suskind, MD, audiologist Alejandra Ullauri, AuD, otolaryngologist Michael Gluth, MD, and audiologist Sally Tannenbaum, M.Ed, CED, LSLS Cert. AVT.

At the University of Chicago Medicine, our multidisciplinary team of ear surgeons (otologists/neurotologists), audiologists, nurses and speech and language pathologists provides care for the full spectrum of ear and hearing conditions in children and adults. Services include:

Comprehensive Hearing and Inner Ear Balance Testing

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 newborn/infant hearing screening, otoacoustic emission testing (to assess cochlear hair cell function), speech assessments, and 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.

Tailored Solutions for Hearing Loss

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. Several types of hearing aids are available, from 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. Our experienced cochlear implant team cares for children and adults.
  • Implantable hearing devices, such as 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

Management of Chronic Ear Disease

University of Chicago Medicine otologists 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: Many patients who have been previously treated for cholesteatoma require routine follow-up care to treat a mastoidectomy cavity. In some cases, surgery is recommended to eliminate a bothersome mastoidectomy cavity that has frequent discharge.
  • 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 ear surgery: We specialize in surgery of the eardrum, mastoid and middle ear when previous surgery has been unsuccessful or when ear diseases such as cholesteatoma or infection have recurred.

Treatment of Inner Ear Balance Disorders

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 University of Chicago 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

Neurotologic Skull Base Surgery

At the University of Chicago 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
Sally Tannenbaum and cochlear implant patient

Pediatric Ear and Hearing Health

Early identification and treatment of ear and hearing problems is crucial to a child's communication development. At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital our pediatric otolaryngologists and audiologists provide child-focused assessment and treatment of ear and hearing conditions in children of all ages, from newborns to teens. Our team offers the following, and more:

  • Age-appropriate comprehensive hearing testing that uses advanced equipment and techniques
  • Medical and surgical treatment of ear infections (otitis media)
  • Traditional and bone-anchored hearing aids
  • Cochlear implantation for severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss
  • Genetic testing and counseling

» Learn more about pediatric otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) care at Comer Children's Hospital

Ear and Hearing Disorders Team

Michael Gluth, MD (Adult and Pediatric)
Dana Suskind, MD (Pediatric)

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Meet Our Otolaryngology Team