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Young Boy Regains Hearing After Challenging Diagnosis

Complex Middle Ear Surgery 

huegal family

When Liam Kren, 8, failed his hearing test at his eight-year checkup his parents were only mildly concerned. However, after consulting several otolaryngologists, they learned Liam was experiencing 75 percent hearing loss. The cause of his hearing loss turned out to be a cholesteatoma, a abnormal skin growth in the middle ear. If left untreated, this condition could lead to further hearing loss, infection or facial paralysis.

The only treatment option was surgery, but many doctors either didn't want to conduct the surgery because of Liam's young age, or suggested several operations. The Krens were delighted to find neuro-otologist Wade Chien, M.D., who specializes in complex ear procedures. "It was important for us to feel extremely comfortable with a surgeon before we subjected Liam to such a delicate procedure," said Carrie Kren, Liam's mother. "We appreciated the way Dr. Chien explained everything on a level that even Liam understood...coupled with his experience and excellent outcomes, we knew our son was in good hands."

Learn more about Liam's story and his journey to regain his hearing.

Wade Chien

Treatment Team

Learn more abut the treatment team and how they can help you.

nurse with patient


The Johns Hopkins Otology, Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery team is dedicated to treating acoustic neuromas and other tumors of the skull base. Our goal is to provide a complete range of services for the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with cranial base lesions and to extend the reach of our services, both individually and collectively.

Learn more about the Division of Otology and Neurotology.

man touching ear

Condition Information

A cholesteatoma is a skin cyst that affects less than 16,000 children each year. This rare condition can also result from a cleft palate. Early signs may include dizziness, persistent ear infections and pain or numbness around the ears. 

Learn more about cholesteatomas (skin cysts in the middle ear)