Bradley Thedinger, MD
Robert Cullen, MD
Dr Joseph A. Ursick

Services Offered


The ear is divided into three parts: an external ear, a middle ear and an inner ear. Each part performs an important function in the process of hearing.

The external ear consists of the auricle and ear canal. These structures gather the sound and direct it towards the eardrum membrane.

The middle ear chamber lies between the external and the inner ear and consists of an ear drum membrane and the three small ear bones (ossicles): malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup). These structures transmit sound vibrations to the inner ear. In so doing they act as a transformer, converting sound vibrations in the external ear canal into fluid waves in the inner ear.

The inner ear chamber contains the microscopic hearing nerve endings bathed in fluid. Fluid waves stimulate the delicate nerve endings, which in turn transmit sound energy to the brain where it is interpreted.


The external ear and the middle ear conduct and transform sound; the inner ear receives it. When there is some difficulty in the external or middle ear, a conductive hearing impairment occurs. When the trouble lies in the inner ear, a sensorineural or nerve hearing impairment is the result. Difficulty in both the middle and inner ear results in a mixed impairment.


A conductive impairment may result from blockage of the external canal (e.g. earwax), from a perforation (hole) in the eardrum membrane, from middle ear infection or from disease of any of the three middle ear bones. This type of impairment is usually correctable.

A person with a conductive hearing impairment may notice that his ears seem to be full or plugged. He usually speaks softly, with a well-modulated voice, because he hears his own voice unduly loud. In general, he hears better in noise than in quiet. Crunchy foods, such as celery, sound very loud and he may have to stop chewing to be able to hear what is being said. With this type of impairment one hears quite well over the telephone.

Fortunately, the patient with a conductive hearing impairment will never go deaf. He will always be able to hear either with reconstructive ear surgery or by use of a properly fit hearing aid.


A sensorineural hearing impairment may result from disturbance of inner ear circulation or fluid pressure or from disturbances of nerve transmission. The most common cause of sensorineural impairment is an aging change in the nerve endings. This type of impairment is not correctable but rarely leads to deafness.

The person with a nerve type hearing impairment may state that he can hear people talking but he cannot understand what they are saying. An increase in the loudness of speech may only add to his confusion. Speech is audible but not clear to him. He usually hears better in quiet places and he may have difficulty understanding what is being said over the telephone. He will probably hear low tones than high tones and, therefore, may find a man’s voice more understandable than a woman’s higher pitched voice. He may not hear a doorbell or the telephone ringing in another room. If so, it may help to substitute a low tone buzzer for the higher pitched doorbell, and to contact the telephone company business office regarding an “805 cycle” telephone bell.


A hearing impairment that is confined to one ear deprives a person of the ability to distinguish the direction of sound. He will also have difficulty hearing from the involved side and may find it difficult to understand in a noisy background or where the acoustics are poor.

When this impairment is conductive, surgery will usually be possible to restore the hearing, giving a better auditory balance. When the impairment is sensorineural, it is often possible to restore some of this balance through a conventional hearing aid or through the use of a special hearing aid (CROS aid) to be discussed later.


A complete otologic examination by a competent ear specialist is necessary to determine what type of hearing impairment is present, its probable cause and its treatment.

The treatment of choice may be environmental modifications, preventative, medical, surgical, or a combination of these. Each person with impaired hearing should have the benefit of adequate auditory rehabilitation.

A well-rounded program of rehabilitation for persons with a hearing deficiency may include lip reading, auditory training, speech conversation and improvement, instruction in the use of a hearing aid and guidance in social adjustment. All aspects of the program do not necessarily apply to each individual with impairment but each individual may be helped through some of these methods.


Midwest Ear Institute
2940 Baltimore Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 531-0003 (voice/TDD)
(816) 751-4616 (Fax)

(Local Affiliates of SHHH [www.shhh.org - National Website] in the Greater KC Area)

Greater Kansas City Chapter
Sherry Cox—Contact Person
18207 E. 27th Terrace
Independence, MO 64057

Johnson County Group
Leonard Hall—Contact Person
14646 Kaw Drive
Olathe, KS 66062

Hartley Family Center
KU Medical Center
Hearing and Speech
3901 Rainbow
Kansas City, KS 66160
(913) 588-5750

Children’s TLC
3101 Main
Kansas City, MO 64111

St. Joseph’s Institute for the Deaf
7323 W. 97th
Overland Park, KS 66212
(913) 383-3535

Friends of Hearing
(Local Affiliate of Cochlear Implant Club International, CICI )
Lou Linville—President
201 SE Noeleen Lane
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063
(816) 525-7666

Kansas School for the Deaf
450 East Park
Olathe, KS 66061

Missouri School for the Deaf
505 E. 5th Street
Fulton, MO 65251
(573) 592-4000

Kansas Relay Phone
(800) 766-3777

Missouri Relay Phone
(800) 735-2466

Lip-reading Training
Johnson County Parks and Recreation
Fifty Plus Program
(913) 236-4343


Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH)
7910 Woodmont Ave, Suite 1200
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 657-2248 Voice
(301) 657-2249 TDD

Cochlear Implant Association
5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015-2034
(202) 895-2781 (voice/TDD)

Better Hearing Institute (BHI)
P.O. Box 1840
Washington, DC 20013
Toll Free/Test Telephone: (800) EAR-WELL
Voice (703) 642-0580

Central Institute for the Deaf
818 South Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110-1594
(314) 652-3200 (voice/TDD)

Hear Now
9745 East Hampton Ave, Suite 300
Denver, CO 80231
Toll Free: (800) 648-4327
Voice/Text Telephone: (303) 695-7797

Acoustic Neuroma Association (ANA)
P.O. Box 12402
Atlanta, GA 30355
Voice: (404) 237-8023
Fax: (404) 237-2704

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf
3417 Volta Place, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Voice/TTY: (202) 337-5220

American Academy of Audiology (AAA)
1735 N. Lynn Street, Suite 950
Arlington, VA 22209-2022
Toll Free: (800) AAA-2336
Voice/TTY: (703) 524-2000

American Academy of Otolaryngology
—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS)
One Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Voice: (703) 836-4444
Text Telephone: (703) 519-1585

American Tinnitus Association (ATA)
P.O. Box 5
Portland, OR 97207
Toll Free: (800) 634-8978
Voice: (503) 248-9985
Fax: (503) 248-0024

Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA)
P.O. Box 641763
Chicago, IL 60664
Text Telephone: (708) 445-0860
Fax: (708) 445-0860




Make an Appointment
(816) 531-7373



Otologic Center | 3100 Broadway, Suite 509 | Kansas City, MO 64111
816-531-7373 phone | 816-531-1404 fax