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Carol A. Bauer, MD

Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery



Research Interests/Areas of Expertise:

  • Hearing loss
  • Balance disorders
  • Evaluation and management of tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Dr. Carol Bauer is Professor of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. She specializes in chronic diseases of the ear and directs the SIU Cochlear Implant program and Hearing and Balance Center at SIU School of Medicine. She leads a team of hearing professionals in the Center who are dedicated to enhancing the hearing, speech and language opportunities for the people of central and southern Illinois.

Dr. Bauer received her medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City in 1989 and completed residency training at the University of Iowa and a fellowship in Neurotology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She joined the Division of Otolaryngology at SIU School of Medicine in 1995 and was appointed Division Chair from 2014-2019. Born and raised in New York, Dr. Bauer attended college at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

Dr. Bauer is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the National Board of Medical Examiners. She was inducted into the prestigious Collegium Oto-rhino-laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum in 2010.

Research Interests:

Specific Aims: To understand the central mechanisms responsible for generating tinnitus and to develop effective strategies for tinnitus treatment

Our research efforts since 1993 have been directed towards understanding the basic mechanisms responsible for the perception of tinnitus. Towards this end we developed a robust animal model for inducing and detecting chronic tinnitus using noise trauma and ototoxic damage to the cochlea. The model has been successfully used for two decades in rats and chinchillas, allowing detailed examination of the pathology related to tinnitus in the cochlea and in the central auditory pathway. The key feature of the model is the ability to distinguish behavioral effects of hearing loss from behavior reflecting the perception of tinnitus. This is a critical aspect of tinnitus research, since changes in the peripheral and central auditory system related to tinnitus occur in the presence of hearing loss.

We have used the techniques of functional imaging using manganese enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, electrophysiologic recording within the auditory brainstem and midbrain, selective anatomic ablation and pharmacologic manipulation to investigate auditory and non-auditory structures involved in generating tinnitus. Our plans are to continue to investigate the cerebellum as a critical site involved in tinnitus. We have preliminary evidence that the unipolar brush cell (UBC) has a compensatory response to acoustic trauma in animals with tinnitus and tinnitus with hyperacusis. Investigating this novel region and the related cellular substrate will stimulate translational work in the effective management of chronic tinnitus.


Medical School: 
University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, IA - Otolaryngology
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX - Neurotology


(most recent grants):

Memorial Medical Center Foundation, 2015, “Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children”

Tinnitus Research Consortium, 2011-2014, “Effect of tinnitus retraining therapy on tinnitus associated with hearing loss”

NIDCD DC0009669, 2008-2013, "Features of chronic tinnitus in an animal model", Principal Investigator