The Hearing and Balance program at UAMS brings together the best of audiology and ear, nose and throat care for a truly interdisciplinary approach that best suits patient needs.
Hearing and balance issues are common, especially in older adults. About one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss. That number increases to nearly half of those over 75. Symptoms are often ignored or dismissed as part of the natural aging process. However, disruptions to hearing and balance can touch on almost all aspects of a person’s health and quality of life — from social interaction to cognition to dangerous falls and accidents. Difficulty hearing and understanding what is being said can create a significant barrier to providing care. In many cases, early intervention can halt or delay serious declines in overall health.
The UAMS Ear, Nose, and Throat and Audiology clinics offer patients a comprehensive and integrated approach to treating and rehabilitating their hearing loss. Both are conveniently located in the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute on the UAMS campus in Little Rock. Options range from non-surgical treatment with hearing aids to a full surgical array of middle and inner ear procedures, including cochlear implants. Your patient’s needs can be covered in this one location, from start to finish.
The Hearing and Balance Team treats:
- Ear-related vertigo
- Meniere’s Disease
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Superior canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS)
- Chronic ear disease — cholesteatoma, tympanic membrane perforations, chronic mastoiditis
- Acoustic neuromas, glomus tumors, lateral skull base tumors
Adult Cochlear Implant Program
UAMS is home to the largest cochlear implant program in the state. We partner with all three cochlear implant manufacturers: Advanced Bionics, Cochlear Americas, and MED-EL. We offer hearing options to all hearing impaired patients, regardless of the severity of their loss. Medicare guidelines provide cochlear implant coverage for patients with bilateral moderate to severe hearing loss whose word understanding ability is moderate to poor. Most private insurance plans provide coverage for cochlear implant devices as well, making them accessible to a large population of patients. Our audiologists, nurse practitioners and surgeons work together to assess the needs and abilities of these patients in order to ensure a successful experience throughout the process.
Hearing Loss Surgeries
UAMS offers the highest quality hearing device implant surgery by fellowship-trained physicians available in the state.
John Dornhoffer, M.D., FACS, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery at UAMS, has performed more implant surgeries in Arkansas than anyone else working in the state. He lectures and trains fellows in implant surgeries on an international level. The Department of Otolaryngology as a whole is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 50 programs nationwide.
David D. Walker, M.D., has joined the Hearing and Balance Program at UAMS. Walker completed fellowship training in otology, neurotology and skull base surgery at Michigan Ear Institute, Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Surgical treatments include:
- Cochlear implantation
- Middle ear ossicular reconstruction
- Otosclerosis surgery
- Baha® implantation
- Acoustic neuroma surgery
Non-surgical Options for Hearing Loss
Most patients do not need surgery and are well served by the highly trained audiologists on our team. Our audiologists provide complete diagnostic hearing evaluations to assess function and the communication needs. These results — along with thorough counseling — allows us to recommend appropriate hearing devices. Devices are fit using the most advanced verification measures. The UAMS Audiology Clinic offers a vast array of hearing devices, providing a solution for every type and severity of hearing loss. With advancements in technology, most of the hearing devices on the market today allow for connectivity to smart phones and other smart devices such as televisions and computers, improving patient comprehension in numerous environments.
The Audiology Clinic provides:
- Adult diagnostic hearing exams
- Hearing aid evaluations and fittings, including probe microphone verification measures
- Contralateral Routing of Sound (CROS) hearing aids to treat single-sided hearing loss
- Smartphone-compatible hearing aids
- Cochlear implant evaluation
- Cochlear implant device programming
- Balance studies
On the forefront of a new decade, the UAMS Otolaryngology and Audiology programs find themselves on the forefront of growth and progress. The doctorate-level audiology academic program is preparing to merge into the outpatient clinic setting with the existing team. These shared efforts will be the foundation for a new clinical and research institute. This merger will open the door to new research opportunities and clinical trials for faculty and students, while allowing for new findings to be tested and implemented directly into a clinic setting.
Accepting New Patients
Call Anndi Cranford, APRN: 501-256-9041
Call Brenda Speed, APRN: 501-707-7023
David Walker, M.D.: DDWalker@uams.edu
John Dornhoffer, M.D.: DornhofferJohnL@uams.edu
Clinic Fax: 501-686-8644
Transfers and Consults: 501-686-6080