Ear-related problems may be diagnosed at or shortly after birth and can be diagnosed and rehabilitated at virtually any age. Comprehensive diagnosis, medical management, and surgical intervention may be provided depending upon the problem. At Arkansas Children’s your child will be treated by experts in the diagnosis and care of pediatric ear-related problems.

Meet the Otology Team

The pediatric otolaryngologists at Arkansas Children's are experts in the diagnosis and management of pediatric ear-related problems.

Medical Staff

John Dornhoffer, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, UAMS, primary clinical and academic interests include hearing restoration and treatment of chronic ear infections and other diseases of the ear.

Specialty Nurses

The specialty nurses at Arkansas Children's are critical for the management of children with ear related problems. They are important for continuity of patient care, education of caregivers and families, and for development and dispensation for hospital therapy. 


Arkansas Children's has a highly skilled team of pediatric audiologists who are experts in the diagnosis and management of pediatric hearing loss. They provide comprehensive care including the latest hearing aid technology such as digital hearing aids and cochlear implants. 

Speech Therapists

Speech therapists are on staff to provide diagnostic and therapeutic needs for children with hearing loss as well as a variety of other speech delays. The hospital also has two speech-language pathologists certified in auditory/verbal therapy of only 300 worldwide. 


Arkansas Children's has a team of highly trained pediatric anesthesiologists skilled in the special needs of providing anesthesia for critically ill infants and children. 

Conditions We Treat

Otology conditions treated at Arkansas Children’s range from the very common ear infections (acute otitis media), to profound sensorineural hearing loss which may require cochlear implantation to related problems such as dizziness and vertigo.

Acute Otitis Media (Ear Infections)

Acute otitis media, or ear infections, occurs in at least 75% of children. Most children are treated with antibiotics but occasionally children require myringotomy to diagnosis or treat an ear infection. Children with frequent ear infections may benefit from tube insertion.

Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (OME)

Chronic otitis media with effusion is persistent fluid in the middle ear space for more than two to three months. This can result in hearing loss, damage to the eardrum, and speech and language delay. Occasionally, surgical intervention with tube placement is needed. Adenoidectomy also may be useful. 

Sensorineural (Nerve Deafness)

Sensorineural, or nerve deafness occurs in 2-4 of every 1,000 children born. The diagnosis is oftentimes made shortly after birth by infant hearing screening programs. Comprehensive diagnostic testing is available through the Audiology Department. Medical diagnosis is made by a team of otologists and pediatric otolaryngologists. Intervention may include hearing aids, auditory trainers, or cochlear implantation for severe cases. Speech therapy, both diagnosis and treatment, is also available. 

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss may occur from middle ear effusion or from an inborn abnormality or acquired problem with the eardrum or middle ear bones. After diagnosis, patients can be rehabilitated with bone-anchored hearing aids, a medically implanted device which optimizes hearing.


Cholesteatoma is a small skin cyst which grows in the middle ear. These masses can slowly expand and destroy ear bones or the inner ear system. They result in chronic infection and typically do not respond to medical management. Our team typically performs a tympanomastoidectomy to remove the cyst and rebuild the hearing mechanism. 

Dizziness (Vertigo)

Dizziness, or vertigo, is uncommon in children and can be related to a variety of underlying problems including inner ear damage, small ear tumors, seizures, migraines, and a variety of other problems. Diagnosis is made by a variety of tests provided through our team of experts. Medical management includes dizziness in the vast majority of patients, while rare patients undergo surgery.

Otology Treatments

Treatments offered by Arkansas Children's provides care for pediatric ear-related problems.


Audiograms can be performed by pediatric otolaryngologists to reliably diagnose hearing in young children through adults. This test is designed to be fun and interactive for children while providing accurate diagnostic information. 

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)

Otoacoustic emissions, or OAEs, is a very quick screening method to determine whether the cochlea, or organ of hearing, is functioning appropriately. This can help determine whether infants have normal hearing. 

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

Auditory brainstem response, or ABR, measures brainwave response to sound. This test is done under light sedation and can provide an excellent representation of hearing in young children or uncooperative patients. 


Tympanogram is a test which measures whether the fluid is present behind the eardrum by placing a simple probe in the ear. 

Tympanostomy with Tube Insertion (PET)

Tympanostomy with tube insertion (PET) is a minor surgery often performed with patients asleep in the operating room, where a small tube is inserted directly through the eardrum to remove middle ear fluid. This is most commonly performed for recurrent infections or persistent middle ear fluid. 


Tympanoplasty is a delicate procedure performed to repair holes in eardrums and to repair or revise the middle ear bones. This can be done through an incision either through the ear canal or behind the ear. 


Mastoidectomy is a surgery performed by drilling behind the ear in which the infected bone, the mastoid bone, behind the ear is opened up to remove infected tissue or cholesteatoma. This is often done in conjunction with a tympanoplasty to repair the eardrum and ear bones. 

Cochlear Implantation 

For the cochlear implantation procedure, a small wire is inserted through the mastoid directly into the cochlea. This is connected with a small implant buried directly under the skin. This allows soundwaves to be converted directly to electrical energy to stimulate the cochlea. 

Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

A bone anchored hearing aid is a surgically implanted device in which a small screw is placed directly into the skull. The attached hearing device then directly stimulates the skull and cochlea resulting in improvement in hearing.

Contact Info/Referrals

ENT Clinic: 501-364-1225 
ENT Office: 501-364-1047 
Chairman: John Dornhoffer, M.D.