The SIU School of Medicine was accredited in 1972. Over the next several years, the major departments were developed. The Department of Surgery, headed by Dr. Roland Folse, MD began recruiting for the sub-specialties, including Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat). In 1978, Dr. Ron Konrad, MD became the first Chair of the Division of Otolaryngology. He notes that it was the strong auditory research being conducted by Don Caspary, PhD that attracted him to the opportunity. In 1979, the ENT residency program was approved. To support the new Division of Otolaryngology, a small Audiology Clinic was developed. In the early 1990s, equipment located on the fifth floor of St. John’s Pavilion was purchased from the hospital creating the building blocks for what would become the SIU Center for Hearing & Balance. Dr. Carol Bauer, MD joined ENT in 1995. Her specialty of neuro-otology meant higher demand of audiology and vestibular services.
In 2000 and 2001, additional audiology positions were created to support the growing ENT Division and to increase direct patient services for people of all ages, such as hearing aids, vestibular rehabilitation, and newborn hearing screening. In 2003, audiological and vestibular services were combined and the Center was born. Since that time, the Center has added four additional audiologists. In total, we currently have 8 audiologists on staff. We have developed sub-specializes of pediatric audiology, cochlear implantation, adult hearing aids, and tinnitus management.
In 2003, we embarked on the quest to open a satellite clinic for adult hearing aid patients. Today that vision is coming to life at our new location on West Lawrence in Springfield. Together the team at the SIU Center for Hearing & Balance has a shared vision—to be a Center of Excellence for Audiological care in the State of Illinois. We wish to be known for compassionate care, remarkable customer service, and knowledge.