Neurotology Treatments and Procedures

Penn Neurotology is leading the way for the treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus, chronic ear infections, balance and dizziness disorders, and skull base tumors that affect the ear and surrounding areas. We offer comprehensive treatment through the Penn Dizziness and Balance Center, The Penn Hearing Aid Program, Penn's Center for Implantable Hearing Devices and Penn’s Center for Cranial Base Surgery.

Treatment for Hearing Loss, Impairment and Tinnitus

Treatment for hearing loss often relies on rehabilitation with hearing aids, however there are many conditions that may have medical or surgical treatment options. We have one of the largest cochlear implant and bone-anchored implant programs in the nation, and we work closely with Penn audiologists for optimal results. Our team is the only group in the region to provide the option of auditory brainstem implantation for our patients.

Surgical treatment options for hearing loss/impairment may include:

Medical treatment is also possible for some conditions and depends on the underlying reason for the hearing loss.

Treatment for Chronic Infections of the Ear/Cholesteatoma

Chronic ear infections may be treated by removal of cholesteatoma (an abnormal, noncancerous skin growth that can develop in the midsection of the ear, behind the eardrum), repair of the eardrum, and repair for the bones of hearing. Advances in endoscopic techniques have made many individuals eligible for procedures without incisions outside of the ear canal.  

Surgical treatment for chronic ear infections of the ear and removal of cholesteatoma may include:

  • Tympanoplasty
  • Mastoidectomy
  • Ossiculoplasty

Treatment for Balance and Dizziness Disorders

Penn Neurotology works closely with the Penn Dizziness and Balance Center to diagnose and treat over 100 patients with these disorders per month, more than any other center in the region. Patients struggling with dizziness or balance disorders are evaluated for functional balance ability as well as the integrity of the vestibular system (inner ear).

Along with suggested lifestyle changes such as diet changes, weight loss, physical therapy and rehabilitation, the following treatment options may be used to treat balance and dizziness disorders:

  • Medication to control acute vertigo attacks
  • Medication to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks
  • Medication injections into the ear
  • Surgical labyrinthectomy
  • Superior canal dehiscence repair

Treatment for Skull Base Tumors Involving the Area Within or Around the Ear

The Penn Neurotology team, in collaboration with our colleagues in Neurosurgery, is leading the way in the surgical treatment of skull base tumors involving the area within or around the ear. Our team works closely with the Penn Head and Neck Cancer surgery team to provide our expertise in the surgical treatment of tumors of the ear canal and parotid, with specific consideration for preserving facial nerve function.

In addition to this close collaboration, Penn Medicine holds a Skull Base Tumor Board that meets every two weeks to discuss diagnosis and treatment options for tumors at the base of the skull. This multidisciplinary team is comprised of neurotologists, rhinologists, head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, neuro-radiologists, neurosurgeons and medical oncologists who evaluate patient cases and create individualized treatment plans.

We provide the full range of treatment options for acoustic neuromas and skull base tumors, including watchful waiting, surgical resection and stereotactic radiosurgery using Gamma Knife. Lateral skull base surgery and treatments performed include:

  • Microsurgery 
  • Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
  • Lateral temporal bone resection
  • Infratemporal fossa approach (glomus jugulare)
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