Hearing Loss Surgery

This information is useful for children and adults
A young girl gazes out of her window.
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Our Hearing & Balance Program offers a full range of medical, rehabilitative and surgical options for treating simple and complex hearing problems.
  • Our surgeons, neurologists, audiologists and speech therapists work together to provide care that’s not widely available.
  • We are internationally recognized for our expertise in eustachian tube surgery and are one of the few places in the world to offer it.

If you have hearing loss, you know that it can be about more than always missing the punchline. When you can't hear, you get irritable. You can feel isolated, and might even start to withdraw from the people around you. Your work may suffer.

“Hearing loss has been around forever, and we weren’t able to do much about it except hearing aids,” says Elias Michaelides, MD, director of the Yale Medicine Hearing & Balance Program, and associate professor of otolaryngology and pediatrics for Yale School of Medicine. Today Yale Medicine specialists offer  a full range of medical, rehabilitative and surgical options for treating simple and complex hearing problems. 

Surgery may be used to treat a variety of conditions that can affect the ear and temporal bone (skull base), including tumors, traumatic injuries, perforated ear drums, chronic ear infections, and abnormal growths or malformations of the ear.

Each year, more than half a million ear tube surgeries, or myringotomies, are performed on children, as well teens and adults, who suffer from middle ear infections, or otitis media. In these procedures, the doctor makes a small incision to insert ear tubes (tiny cylinders) through the ear drum to relieve pressure caused by excessive buildup of fluid, or to drain pus from the middle ear. 

Dr. Michaelides has helped to pioneer surgery for difficult-to-treat conditions affecting the eustachian tube, which permits equalization of pressure on either side of the eardrum, and can make sounds seem muffled, and cause ringing and pain when it dysfunctions. “These are surgical techniques we use to treat eustachian tubes that are too large or too small, both very frustrating conditions to have,” he says.