Ear, Hearing and Balance Center

The Ear, Hearing & Balance Center provides expert surgical treatment for disorders involving the ear, skull base, and temporal bone. Part of University Hospitals Ear, Nose & Throat Institute in Cleveland, OH, the center treats both adults and children with these conditions.

Our center’s team includes fellowship-trained neurotologists collaborating with partner physicians and surgeons specializing in neurosurgery, balance and vestibular disorders, hearing loss, cancer, and interventional radiology. They perform all types of skull base surgery, including posterior, anterior and middle cranial base procedures.

For skull base disorders, UH combines the most advanced microscopic and robotic surgery, as well as radiation technologies, including CyberKnife® and Gamma Knife. In addition, UH is the only hospital in the region with a proton beam suite. During proton beam therapy, patients receive extremely precise radiation dosing. UH is among just three hospitals in the U.S. with CyberKnife®, Gamma Knife and proton beam therapy—all under one roof.

The center addresses even the most rare and challenging ear and skull base conditions. Our accomplishments include:

  • For patients undergoing acoustic neuroma surgery, we offer a 95 percent facial nerve preservation rate, with very low rates of cerebrospinal fluid leak during the last three years (typical complications). For our patients, the average hospital stay is 2.5 days, compared to the national average of four to five days.
  • Acoustic neuroma may require one of three surgical procedures. The UH team includes experts in all three techniques.
  • We identified the origin of endolymphatic sac tumors and pioneered a new surgery that removes tumors while preserving hearing function. This technique is being used at other hospitals around the world.
  • The team has achieved a 98 percent success rate in using laser stapedectomy to treat the hardening of the tiny bones in the middle ear (otosclerosis).
  • At UH, the overwhelming majority of patients are discharged the same day after having surgery for cysts in the middle ear (cholesteatoma).
  • Our surgeons offer multiple approaches to remove cholesteatoma, including canal wall reconstruction tympanomastoidectomy.
  • Our surgeons have nearly a 100 percent success rate for treating patients with meningoencephalocele using a new technique we developed. While traditional surgery for this condition usually requires three or four days in the hospital, some of our patients return home within 24 hours and avoid standard craniotomy techniques. Meningoencephalocele is a rare and dangerous condition in which the brain herniates into the middle ear and mastoid cavity.
  • We developed a minimally invasive surgical technique for superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome. Most UH patients go home the same day, compared to the prolonged hospital stay associated with traditional craniotomy methods.
  • The team is successfully treating neurofibromatosis type II with new drug therapies, as well as offering surgery and access to auditory brainstem implants (ABI) for hearing restoration.
  • UH has pioneered the use of cochlear implants for treating inner ear autoimmune disease in patients for whom standard steroid therapy has failed to preserve hearing.
  • The cochlear implant program is a large multi-disciplinary team that includes specialists in audiology, speech therapy, child psychology, pediatrics, adult oral rehabilitation, neurotology, music therapy, genetics, and otology/neurotology. It treats over 100 new patients per year and has recently completed its 1100th cochlear implant surgery.

Commitment to Training and Education

Specialized physician training is a key component of the center’s mission. Our facility features a ten-station temporal bone skull base surgery laboratory where students and residents, and practicing otolaryngologists practice advanced surgical techniques. Because of its largely unique characteristics, this lab draws visitors from hospitals from around the country and the world.