Sections & Programs

Comprehensive Ear and Hearing Center

Welcome to The Comprehensive Ear and Hearing Center!

The Comprehensive Ear and Hearing Center at the University of Chicago Medicine is a multidisciplinary program focused on the medical and surgical care of ear and hearing disorders for adults and children.  We offer a full array of state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options for patients.  The center coordinates the efforts of physicians, audiologists, and speech & language pathologists that are sub-specialized in the care of ear and hearing disorders within a single cohesive unit.  The goals of our center are to: provide world-class ear and hearing healthcare, advance the field of ear science, and educate the public and train aspiring ear & hearing health professionals. 

Prominent efforts within our center include: Adult and pediatric cochlear implantation, audiology and hearing technology services, management of chronic ear disease, hearing restorative surgery, lateral skull base surgery, and vestibular disorders.

We look forward to working with you to optimize your ear and hearing health.  Please find below more information about our team members, services offered, and educational resources.  

Meet Our Team

Bios coming soon!

Dr. Michael B. Gluth, Professor and Director of the Comprehensive Ear and Hearing Center

  • Dr. Gluth is a otologist/neurotologist who cares for both adults and children with ear and hearing problems.  His clinical interests include management of chronic ear disease (cholesteatoma), cochlear implantation, and skull base surgery.  He is an active researcher, having published numerous scientific articles and has served as the primary investigator on studies examining treatment options used to manage various ear disorders.  He is the director of the Bloom Otopathology Lab. His research has led to the development of an ossicular prosthesis and he is working to develop novel medical treatments for the management of cholesteatoma (a benign growth in the middle ear).
  • An expert ear surgeon, Dr. Gluth has co-authored a comprehensive textbook on chronic ear infection and related ear surgery entitled The Chronic Ear. He has written numerous book chapters and journal articles on topics such as cochlear implants, chronic ear disease, and inner ear disorders, and he serves as a reviewer for several notable scientific journals
  • He completed his otolaryngology training at the Mayo Clinic and served as an otology/neurotology fellow at the Ear Science Institute Australia. He is a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago in the Section of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and directs the ear and hearing center. 

Dr. Dana Suskind, Professor and Director, Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program, Co-Director, TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health

  • Dr. Suskind is a pediatric otolaryngologist who specializes in pediatric cochlear implantation.  She directs the pediatric hearing loss and cochlear implant program.  She is recognized as a national thought leader in early language development and has dedicated her research and clinical practice to optimizing foundational brain development and preventing early cognitive disparities and their lifelong impact.
  • She is founder and co-director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, which aims to create a population-level shift in the knowledge and behavior of parents and caregivers to optimize the foundational brain development in children from birth to five years of age, particularly those born into poverty.  Her book "Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain" was published in 2015. 
  • She completed otolaryngology residency training at the University of Pennsylvania and fellowship training in pediatric otolaryngology at Washington University in St. Louis.  

Dr. Fuad Baroody, Professor and Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology

  • Dr. Baroody is a comprehensive pediatric otolaryngologist who has interests in the management of pediatric ear disease.  He has written more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 25 book chapters.  A gifted speaker, he has been invited to give lectures across the country and around the world.
  • He completed residency training at the American University of Beirut Medical Center and a fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University.  

Dr. Andrea Shogan, Assistant Professor

  • Dr. Shogan is a comprehensive pediatric otolaryngologist who has clinical interests in the management of recurrent ear infections and ear disease.  She also serves as the Associate Clerkship Director for the medical student surgery clerkship at the Pritzker School of Medicine. 
  • She completed her otolaryngology residency at the University of Chicago and fellowship training in pediatric otolaryngology at Children's Wisconsin.  

Dr. Terence Edward (Ted) Imbery, Assistant Professor

  • Dr. Imbery is an otologist/neurotologist who specializes in ear and hearing care for adult and pediatric patients.  His clinical interests include cochlear implantation, skull base surgery, chronic ear disease, and surgery for congenital aural atresia.  
  • He completed his residency training at SUNY Upstate Medical University and a fellowship in otology/neurotology at the University of Virginia.  During his fellowship, he also completed the Advanced Cochlear Implant Surgeons' Training Course through the Institute for Cochlear Implant Training.

 

Bios coming soon!

Bio coming soon!

Services Offered

We offer the full array of medical and surgical therapies to achieve your ear and hearing care goals

Tumors of the ear and lateral skull base are managed by a team of surgical specialists that includes ear surgeons (neurotologists), head and neck surgeons, plastic surgeons, and neurosurgeons so as to provide patients with the highest level of expert care.  Tumors managed within our program include acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma), glomus tumors (paraganglioma), meningioma, cancer of the temporal bone & skull base, and lesions of the petrous apex among others.  In particular, patients with acoustic neuroma are provided expert counsel regarding the available and appropriate treatment options among tumor observation, surgery (including determination of the most appropriate surgical approach), and stereotactic radiosurgery.  We work closely with colleagues in the department of radiation oncology for those patients who are candidates for radiosurgery.   Additionally, surgery to correct defects of the skull base and to deal with disorders/trauma of the facial nerve is also performed at our center

After a thorough series of hearing tests and medical evaluation, certain cases of hearing loss hearing may be corrected with surgery.  Our providers perform the full spectrum of hearing restorative procedures including:

  • Ear tubes: A small tube can be placed in the eardrum to create a temporary hole which facilitates normal ear pressure and prevents fluid buildup.  This is commonly done for adults and children with recurrent ear infections or those who have persistent fluid behind the eardrum.  In adults and older children, ear tubes may be placed in the office with topical numbing medicine.  Hearing improvement is often immediate.  
  • Tympanoplasty: Repair of damaged or perforated eardrums with tissue grafts is undertaken to restore the natural sound vibration mechanism of the eardrum (tympanic membrane).  Depending on the character of the perforation, minimally invasive techniques may be employed so there is no incision behind the ear.  
  • Ossicular chain reconstruction: Repair of damaged middle ear hearing bones or ossicles can be done with prosthetic implants.  This is often done in conjunction with tympanoplasty procedures.  Hearing bones may be damaged from trauma, chronic ear infections or cholesteatoma, or congenital problems, among others.  
  • Stapedectomy: For patients with otosclerosis, a condition where the third hearing bone (stapes) becomes stiff and doesn't vibrate properly, the stapes can be removed and replaced with a prosthesis to restore natural vibration and improve hearing.
  • Bone conduction devices or implants: For some patients with vibratory (conductive) hearing losses not easily corrected by other surgical procedures, a bone conduction device may be an option.  We offer all types of surgically implantable bone conduction devices, and work closely with our audiologists to determine candidacy and select the right device for you.  
  • Aural atresia repair: This specialized surgery allows creation of a new ear canal and ear drum to restore the normal sound conduction mechanism.  This condition typically occurs as a congenital abnormality and is often associated with underdevelopment of the outer ear (microtia).  We work closely with colleagues in plastic surgery to coordinate these procedures.  Dr. Imbery has a particular interest in care of patients with aural atresia.  
  • Cochlear implantation: For patients with severe hearing loss no longer benefiting from traditional hearing aids, a cochlear implant may be an option.  We take great pride in our comprehensive adult and pediatric cochlear implant programs.  Please see the additional information on this page regarding these services.  

Diagnosis of vestibular disorders is undertaken in collaboration between our audiologists, who perform tests such as videonystagmography (VNG), dynamic posturography, electrocochleography (ECoG), video head impulse testing (VHIT), and vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) to determine the functional status of the inner ear balance system.  Our expert physicians coordinate treatment of inner ear conditions such as Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, perilymphatic fistula, and superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome.   Our team also collaborates with other University of Chicago and community-based specialists in related fields such as neurology, psychiatry, physical therapy, and occupational therapy as needed to optimize patient outcomes.  We are also the only center in the Chicago area which perform comprehensive vestibular testing and evaluations for pediatric patients with vestibular problems. 

Several different tests may be completed at your visit depending on your symptoms.  Some of these tests are provocative and may exacerbate your symptoms of dizziness/vertigo temporarily.  It is recommended you have a friend or family member accompany you who can help provide transportation home afterward.  

Please find details regarding these tests below:

  • Computerized dynamic posturography: This is used to objectively quantify and differentiate among three sensory inputs; the Vestibular (inner ear system), Somatosenory (feet, ankles, joints), and Vision (eyes). When all three of these sensory inputs are working together the result is proper balance. When there is a mismatch between these inputs the result is imbalance or dizziness.  Computerized Dynamic Posturography cannot diagnosis the source of your dizziness on its own but it can be used in conjunction with other clinical test to help localize and categorize the sensory system or systems causing your dizziness or balance. During a Computerized Dynamic Posturography testing you will be standing on a platform while wearing a safety harness. Shoes are removed for testing so you have full access to the somatosensory input from your feet. A series of tests are then administered to measure how well you can maintain your balance under different conditions.
  • Videonystagmograpgy (VNG): You will wear video goggles which will record your eye movements. The test is broken up into 3 sections. During the first part of the test you will be asked to follow moving dots on the wall with your eyes. The second group involves moving your head and body into different positions. Calorics are the final part of the test. Caloric testing involves putting cool and warm air (or water) into the ear canal for one minute and measuring the resulting nystagmus or eye movements. It is normal to feel dizzy during this test, however this feeling typically subsides quickly after testing. 
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs): During VEMP testing electrodes will be placed on your forehead, under your eyes, along the sides of your neck, and on your clavicle. Insert headphones, similar to those worn for the audiological evaluation, will be inserted into the ear canal.  A loud clicking noise is play in one ear while you look up or turn and look over your shoulder.  This test assesses a primitive response to loud sounds from your inner ear balance organ.  
  • Electrocochleography (ECoG): This is a type of electrical test to measure the responses of your cochlea to certain sounds.  This testing may be done to provide information about the fluid levels within the cochlea during evaluation for Meniere's disease.
  • Video Head Impulse Testing (VHIT): Video goggle will be used to track your eye movements in response to quick head movements.  This allows assessment of all six semicircular canals (three in each ear).  These semicircular canals function as motion detectors.  If there are faulty eye movements, it may indicate a poor signal is being sent to your brain from your vestibular organ.  

For many instances of hearing loss caused by severe dysfunction of the inner ear, hearing restoration may be possible via the technology of cochlear implantation.  Most cases of inner ear (sensorineural) hearing loss are due to disruption or absence of specialized cells deep within the ear that detect sound vibration (hair cells); however, in most of these instances the hearing nerve itself is still capable of detecting sound if stimulated electrically by a cochlear implant.  Examples of where cochlear implantation may be appropriate include:

  • Hearing loss due to meningitis or other severe infection affecting the ears
  • Inherited forms of progressive hearing loss
  • Fractures of the skull base that involve the ears
  • Severe otosclerosis (abnormal bone formation and fixation of stapes bone) involving the inner ears
  • Meniere’s disease or other inner ear diseases
  • Severe noise-induced trauma
  • Hearing loss due to the aging process
  • Ototoxic effects of certain medications

When considering a cochlear implant, patients should consider that the implant process is the start of a lifetime relationship with the institution and cochlear implant team where the surgery is performed; as such, patients can feel confident that the University of Chicago Cochlear Implant Program is outstanding in that it routinely services the most complex cases in both children and adults, serving as one of the most comprehensive and experienced cochlear implant teams in the Chicagoland region.  Our audiologists (certified in cochlear implantation) and surgeons have dedicated their lives to perfecting the art and advancing the science of cochlear implantation.

Patients with bilateral, severe to profound sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss who no longer get adequate benefit from traditional hearing amplification may be candidates for a cochlear implant.  Patients typically have poor clarity scores (word recognition) on their hearing tests.  As well, patients may also be candidates if they still have residual, low-frequency (bass tone) hearing or just have hearing loss in one ear.  At our center we offer devices from all three FDA approved manufacturers. 

If after review of your recent hearing test (audiogram) you are felt to be a candidate, a comprehensive cochlear implant evaluation with one of our audiologists is performed to further test your ability to hear in quiet and noisy situations with and without your current hearing aid(s).  Scores on these tests may determine candidacy depending on the type of insurance coverage you have.  The audiologist will also be able to review the available devices with you from the three manufacturers and help counsel you about the fitting and rehabilitation process. 

After your cochlear implant evaluation with audiology, you will meet with one of our surgeons to determine your medical candidacy.  In addition to a detailed history and physical examination, imaging (either a CT scan or MRI) of the temporal bone will be often be performed to assess the anatomy of your inner ear.  A discussion will be had regarding which ear(s) to implant.  It is important to consider your overall medical health and surgical risk, as this is a procedure performed under general anesthesia.  Depending on your medical comorbidities, we may seek pre-operative clearance from your other caring physicians.  Your vaccination status will also be considered.  There is a very small, but slightly higher risk of meningitis for patients who have cochlear implants.  We follow CDC recommendations for prophylactic vaccinations for all of our cochlear implant candidates.  

Cochlear implant surgery is performed under general anesthesia and typically takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete (per ear).  It is typically done as an outpatient, meaning you may go home the same day of surgery.  A small incision is made behind the ear to access the mastoid bone, which is partially drilled away to give access to the inner ear structures and allow the internal device to be seated.  Patients often worry about their hair being shaved for surgery; we only need to remove a very small amount from just behind your ear!  You will wake up with a gauze dressing over your ear which should remain in place for 24-48 hours after surgery to help reduce swelling.  Once removed, it is best to keep the incision dry until instructed otherwise by your surgeon.  Pain is usually minimal, often times Tylenol of Ibuprofen is all that is needed.  Rarely will a short course of pain medication be needed.  Some surgeons may prescribe a course of antibiotics to take after surgery to help prevent infection.  The first post-operative visit is usually 1-2 weeks later to assess the healing of the wound(s).  Patients may often return to work/school in a few days after surgery.  Strenuous activity or exercise should be avoided until cleared by your surgeon. 

It is important to note that the device is not activated immediately after surgery.  This is to allow appropriate healing and reduction of any swelling after surgery.  Approximately 3-4 weeks after surgery you will have an appointment with the audiologist to activate and program the device.  After this visit, you should have regular visits with your audiologist to help program and monitor your progress with the device, which will be gradually spaced out in time. 

Learning to listen with a cochlear implant takes time!  It is a totally new way of hearing.  The most important thing you can do is to practice, practice, and practice listening with the device on!  We recommend consultation with our speech and language pathologists who have specialized training in auditory rehabilitation after implantation to help you maximize the benefit from your device.  

 

Please see the links below for more details regarding the cochlear implant process at the University of Chicago

Program Packet (PDF)

Program Presentation (PPT)

 

Research Endeavors

Ear and hearing research at the University of Chicago is a diverse collaborative effort that endeavors to vertically integrate investigation in the basic science laboratory, translational efforts, clinical research trials, and clinical care in the Comprehensive Ear and Hearing Center.

Founded by Dr. John R. Lindsay, The University of Chicago is home to the second-oldest human temporal bone histopathology laboratory in the United States and is one of the founding members of the temporal bone banks program. The collection contains over 1600 unique processed specimens alongside associated clinical records. In recent years, the laboratory has consolidated smaller collections from other institutions in order to study and act as a custodian of these precious rare specimens. One unique aspect of the collection is possession of several associated brainstem specimens that have been used to study the central auditory and vestibular pathways. One of the main areas of investigation in the laboratory in recent years has been presbycusis and also age-related change of the vestibular system.

Selected Recent Publications (links to PubMed citation):

The University of Chicago Comprehensive Ear & Hearing Center routinely participates in single and multi-center prospective clinical research trials involving topics such as cochlear implantation, inner ear medicine, and tympanic membrane regeneration.  Investigations of topics relevant to the management of chronic suppurative otitis media have also been commonplace at the University of Chicago.  Past and current translational research efforts have resulted in the development of middle ear ossicular replacement prostheses that are now used by surgeons throughout the world for ossiculoplasty and malleostapedotomy surgery.  Further, ongoing experiments are aimed at developing a novel adjuvant treatment intending to lower cholesteatoma recidivism rates after surgery resection via a novel immune-targeted photodynamic therapy protocol. 

Selected Recent Publications (links to PubMed citation):

Founded by Dr. Dana Suskind, the TMW Center for Early Learning and Public Health aspires to create a population-level shift in the knowledge and behavior of parents and caregivers to optimize the foundational brain development in children, birth to five years of age, particularly those born into poverty. Dr. Suskind’s research builds on the literature that early caregiver input are critical for foundational brain development and that socioeconomic gaps can influence the cognitive development and life course outcomes of all children, hearing and deaf alike. Specifically, her research asks: How do we optimize adult-child interactions to impact foundational brain development and positively affect educational disparities in preschool children, particularly among low socioeconomic (SES) households? Towards that end, the Center develops evidence-based interventions that enable parents, caregivers, practitioners, and researchers to harness the power of language interactions to address early cognitive disparities at their onset.

Personnel:

Dana Suskind, MD (Founder and Co-Director)

John List, PhD (Co-Director)

Selected Recent Publications (links to citation):

Other media:

Policymaking is not a science (Yet): Freakonomics Radio, 2020

Audiology

Audiology is a clinical field that involves study of the ear and hearing.  Audiologists are health care professionals that often hold a doctorate-level degree (AuD or PhD) and are trained specifically in the assessment and rehabilitation of ear and hearing disorders.  At the University of Chicago Medicine, our audiologists work closely alongside physicians, speech & language pathologists, and deaf/hearing-impaired educators as a team in order to provide comprehensive care of hearing and balance disorders to patients of all ages.

  • Complex Hearing Evaluations
  • Infant Hearing Screening and Pediatric Diagnostic Services
  • Cochlear Implant Program
  • Amplification (Hearing Aids)
  • Implantable Hearing Devices
  • Vestibular (Inner-Ear Balance) Testing

If you or a family member is experiencing ear or hearing-related difficulties, please contact our department at 773-702-1865, to make an appointment, appointments are offer within a week of your call.

We provide specialized, friendly, personalized service: Our patients’ hearing and balance difficulties have a direct impact on their everyday life and their family dynamics.  We work together with the families of our patients to provide the information, support, and knowledge of additional local services that they need to thrive.  We believe that family involvement is crucial in the process of ear and hearing rehabilitation.

We believe in communication: As human beings we rely on communication to teach, learn, interact and share our feelings, experiences and knowledge and hearing impairment will have a direct impact on our ability to communicate.  In children, hearing difficulties may impact their ability to acquire spoken language and to efficiently achieve an education in mainstream schools.  In adults, hearing and balance difficulties may interfere with one’s social life, work performance, and general well-being as a member of society, in many cases resulting in irritation, isolation, and depression.

We apply evidence-based practice: As part of the University of Chicago Medical Center, our audiology program is committed to evidence-based practice. As such, our team of audiologists is heavily involved with on-going professional education to be certain that our services reflect the latest proven techniques.  This commitment also requires constant innovation and improvement of our testing protocols and equipment based on the status of the ever-changing state of the art.

The University of Chicago Audiology program is active in the education of future audiologists with our externship program.

Our facility is a tertiary care center located on Chicago's South Side in Hyde Park. The hospital has a medical school and residency program. Audiology is part of the Department of Surgery and provides outpatient as well as inpatient services to an extremely diverse population. Listed below is a brief description of the Audiology services we provide. Audiology is located in the outpatient facility (Center for Advanced Medicine) however; we are associated with the adult inpatient hospital and Comer Children’s Center. Our students will be working with the Audiology staff at all times. Staff includes 5 audiologists who are board certified, some of which have their CCCs. The student will have direct supervision throughout their practicum. All audiograms are reviewed and signed off by the audiologists.

Our clinic provides “on-call” audiology services to ENT clinics 5 days a week. Daily patients being seen by ENT can have hearing testing performed the same day. We have 15 attending physicians, who have sub specialized in areas of interest; 6 ENT residents, and rotating medical students. We have 2 primary adult ear Otolaryngologists and 3 pediatric ENTs. However, all physicians can obtain hearing testing during clinic visits for their patients. This includes both adult and pediatric clinics (age range preemie to geriatrics) Ratio of patients is approximately 50% pediatric 50% adult.

Audiology also has a schedule that runs concurrent with ENT clinic. We provide adult and pediatric evaluations, including DPOAEs, impedance measurements, VRA, CPA, traditional audiologic evaluations, ABR/ASSR testing, and VNG testing. Other services provided include: adult and pediatric hearing aid evaluations, dispensing and follow-up; adult and pediatric cochlear implant evaluations, activations and follow-up; osseointegrated device dispensing and management (Baha/Ponto); management of universal newborn hearing screening in NICU and nursery; craniofacial/cleft palate clinic; cystic fibrosis clinic, oncology, and cochlear implant clinics.

Our goal is to provide a well-rounded externship experience for students with the opportunity to practice patient management and follow-up. We provide externs with the tools and experiences to become independent clinicians in all aspects of audiology. 

Patient and Provider Information

More coming soon

More coming soon

Follow-us on Twitter!

@UChicagoHearing