OTONEUROLOGY

Timothy C. Hain, M.D. Last updated on May 10, 2017

Otoneurologists

Otoneurology is the combination of "Oto", meaning ear, and "neurology", meaning study of disorders of the nervous system.

The term describes a small group of Medical Doctors, with conventional training in Neurology, and with additional training or at least a strong special interest in disorders of the ear. A reasonable estimate as to the # of otoneurologists in the USA is probably about 100 (in total). This group is too small to have a specialty board, and usually one recognizes them because they are "dizzy doctors". Usually there are doctors like this only in major metropolitan areas.

Otoneurologists, by both training and interest, are usually proficient in diagnosing and managing conditions of the brain that can manifest with dizziness or hearing disturbances -- and especially migraine associated dizziness. Because Meniere's disease overlaps with Migraine, usually these physicians are also proficient in diagnosing Meniere's disease.

Other conditions that otoneurologists tend to be especially knowledgable about include

 

Neurotologists

This term, which is basically just "otoneurology" reversed, refers to a larger group of medical doctors, generally trained in Otolaryngology, with additional training in disorders of the ear that affect the nervous system -- largely acoustic neurinoma's. They also sometimes call themselves "skull base surgeons". These doctors see a similar group of patients as do "otoneurologists", but they tend to focus more on the ear than on the brain. There are often several of these physicians in major metropolitan areas. In Chicago for example, there are roughly 5 Neurotologists, basically one for each university hospital.

Conditions that Neurotologists tend to be especially knowedgable about include:

Neuro-ophthalmologists

For the most part, Neuro-ophthalmologists are medical doctors with training in ophthalmology, who have done an extra year or two training in disorders of the nervous system that effect the eyes. This is a popular specialty for eye doctors (perhaps because it is so interesting), but often there are not that many patients who fit into their category. Generally speaking, every academic university will have a neuro-opthalmologist.