Otology is the part of otorhinolaryngology (ENT) that concerns conditions related to the ear. The ear is basically divided into an outer, middle and inner ear. An otologist is a trained otorhinolaryngologist (ENT) with a special interest in outer and middle ear conditions. To become an otologist no specific training or board examination is required. What are required are an interest, the attendance of training courses and a lot of experience.
I have had the privilege to work exclusively in otology for 15 years. I had the opportunity to train under the best, Prof Herman Hamersma, Prof Johannes Swart and Prof André Claassen. I attended training courses at the House Ear institute in Los Angeles, USA and with Prof Ugo Fisch from Zurich, Switzerland. I have hosted numerous courses to enrich, not only myself but also others.
A neurotologist is an ENT surgeon that has a special interest in the inner ear. An otologist manages adult and paediatric patients. Otologists work specifically with ear conditions such as hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, ear disease, ear cancer, and chronic infections. Otologists can render medical and surgical treatment. An otologist should be able to perform all types of ear surgery and approaches. An otologist can perform surgery to remove cancer and ear disease. They can correct deformities such as perforated eardrums and correct the hearing mechanism of the middle ear such as stapes surgery for otosclerosis. Furthermore an otologist performs hearing device implant surgery that include bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA, PONTO, BONEBRIDGE and SYMPHONO), vibroplasty and cochlear implantation (Cochlear and Medel).
Surgery offered by an otologist include:
- Tympanoplasty for tympanic membrane perforations
- Ossiculoplasty for conductive hearing loss
- Stapedotomy for otosclerosis
- Mastoidectomy for chronic ear disease and cholesteatoma
- Canalplasty for removal of exostosis
- Meatoplasty for enlarging the ear canal