The Division of Otology/Neurotology is comprised of otologists, audiologists, hearing aid technicians, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists and a robust support staff with expertise and interest in the management of otologic and neurotologic disorders. The division delivers state-of-the-art patient care, provides residents and fellows with top-notch clinical training and conducts innovative research.
- Hussam K. El-Kashlan, M.D., FACS, Division Chief
- Renee Banakis-Hartl, M.D., Au.D.
- Gregory J. Basura, M.D., Ph.D.
- Katherine D. Heidenreich, M.D.
- Devin L. McCaslin, Ph.D.
- Emily Z. Stucken, M.D.
- Christopher M. Welch, M.D., Ph.D.
The division treats a variety of otologic and neurotologic conditions, including hearing loss, infections and injuries of the ear, tumors of the ear and lateral skull base, dizziness and balance disorders and facial nerve paralysis.
The division's surgeons have more than 60 combined years of experience performing ear surgery. They provide the full scope of surgeries that cover any disorder of the ear, including hearing loss, perforated ear drums, chronic ear infections, surgical restoration of hearing, tumors of the ear, facial nerve paralysis, acoustic neuromas, cochlear implants and surgical treatment of vertigo (dizziness) generated by the inner ear.
Patients receive a comprehensive evaluation that includes a thorough history, a complete exam and diagnostic testing that is suitable to their condition.
The surgeons collaborate with many other skilled groups within the university in order to provide the best care, including Michigan Hearing, the Cochlear Implant Program, the Vertigo Management Program, the Kresge Hearing Research Institute (KHRI), the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Neurosurgery.
Vertigo Management Program
The division's Vertigo Management Program provides comprehensive evaluation and management for patients with dizziness and balance disorders. The program's team of otologists and physical therapists have more experience than anyone else in the state and are considered national leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of dizziness and balance disorders.
In addition to this team of experts, the cutting-edge Vestibular Testing Center (VTC) houses state-of-the art equipment that can provide important data to help formulate the correct diagnosis and treatment. Some of the specialized tests conducted in the VTC include videonystagmography, rotational chair testing and postural control testing.
Treatment varies based on the underlying cause of dizziness and can include vestibular rehabilitation therapy, dietary and behavioral modifications, medications and/or surgery.
Michigan Hearing's audiologists and hearing aid technicians evaluate patients of all ages with hearing loss. They provide comprehensive hearing loss services, including hearing assessment; hearing aid evaluation, dispensing, fitting and tuning; preoperative testing of hearing and facial function for adults with vestibular schwannomas/acoustic neuromas; intraoperative monitoring and hearing rehabilitation.
Unique to Michigan Hearing is the collaboration that exists between the audiologists and the rest of the experts within the Division of Otology-Neurotology. Sharing in patient care and collaborating on their hearing concerns means they can make cohesive and accurate treatment decisions.
Cochlear Implant Program
The U-M Cochlear Implant Program was established in 1984 and is one of the oldest programs in the country. The program provides comprehensive assessments performed by audiologists and speech-language pathologists to evaluate candidacy for a cochlear implant. Cochlear implant surgery is now almost always done on an outpatient basis. After a 4- to 6-week healing period, the implant can be activated. During activation, the device is adjusted and tuned using a computer. The patient then returns one week later for further programming to monitor any changes in hearing. Monthly visits to the implant center for programming may be necessary until the patient's hearing stabilizes. The program also offers revision surgery for patients who have had unsuccessful cochlear implant surgery or whose devices have failed electronically.
Clinical and didactic teaching of residents and medical students take place on a daily basis. Faculty members instruct undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education courses. The division also actively mentors residents and fellows on several research projects.
Temporal Bone Lab
One of the division's most unique teaching offerings is the temporal bone surgical dissection laboratory. The division conducts one week courses held four times yearly and attended by physicians from around the world. U-M otolaryngology residents and fellows spend one half-day per week in the lab while on the otology-neurotology service. They use this dedicated, faculty-supervised time to improve their temporal bone drilling skills, which are crucial to ear surgery. Residents also attend one of the week-long temporal bone courses during their fourth year of residency.
The division routinely conducts clinical research projects and also collaborates with the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, which has been part of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for over 50 years. The KHRI is one of the world’s foremost centers for advanced hearing research and consists of a dedicated group of scientists and physicians working on the basic mechanisms of hearing and balance, in health and disease. This provides the potential for scientists and practitioners to work side by side to understand and address the challenges of hearing loss and other inner ear disorders.