Charles Della Santina, M.D., Ph.D.

Charles C Della Santina, M.D., Ph.D.

Headshot of Charles Della Santina
  • Director, Johns Hopkins Cochlear Implant Center
  • Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery


Acoustic Neuromas, Bilateral Loss of Vestibular Sensation, Bone Anchored Hearing Devices, Cholesteatoma, Cochlear Implantation, Hearing Restoration, Meniere's Disease, Neurotology, Otolaryngology, Otolaryngology (ENT), Otology, Otosclerosis, Pediatric Cochlear Implants, Skull Base Surgery, Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome, Vertigo, Vestibular Disorders, Vestibular Schwannoma more

Research Interests

Vestibular Implants to restore balance sensation, Inner Ear Gene Therapy to restore hearing and balance, Developing new technologies for vestibular function testing and rehabilitation; Auditory cortex activity during stimulation by cochlear implants; Developing new technologies for neural stimulation; Epidemiology of bilateral vestibular hypofunction and other vestibular disorders; Genetics of Menieres disease, Superior Canal Dehiscence and other inner ear disorders; Magnetohydrodynamic vestibular stimulation; Design, development, testing and application of the Johns Hopkins MVP Multi-channel Vestibular Prosthesis (a new implantable stimulator intended to restore inner ear balance sensation in individuals disabled by unsteady vision due to hair cell injury after gentamicin, Meniere's disease, or other disorders.; Developing new technologies for vestibular function testing and rehabilitation more

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Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center (now called Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., Outpatient Center)

Appointment Phone: 443-997-6467
601 N. Caroline St.
Suite 6253
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-502-7909 | Fax: 410-367-2282

The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 443-997-6467
1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-502-7909 | Fax: 410-367-2282


Dr. Charles Della Santina specializes in surgery for treatment of otosclerosis, acoustic neuroma/vestibular schwannoma, and other problems that cause hearing loss or abnormal vestibular (inner ear balance) sensation. He performs acoustic neuroma surgery, cochlear implantation, stapes surgery, middle ear bone reconstruction, bone-conduction hearing device implantation, other middle ear and mastoid surgeries, and surgery for vestibular disorders including superior canal dehiscence syndrome, Meniere’s disease, bilateral loss of vestibular sensation, gentamicin ototoxicity and other disorders.

A Ph.D. biomedical engineer, electrical engineer and neurophysiologist, Dr. Della Santina founded and directs the Johns Hopkins Vestibular NeuroEngineering Lab. His research group focuses on developing a vestibular implant to treat chronic unsteadiness and oscillopsia (shaky vision during head movement) caused by gentamicin ototoxicity and other causes of bilateral vestibular hypofunction.

Dr. Della Santina's more than 110 publications also include studies of inner ear physiology and anatomy; new clinical tests of vestibular function; and the effects of cochlear implantation, superior canal dehiscence syndrome, and gentamicin on the inner ear. more


  • Director, Johns Hopkins Cochlear Implant Center
  • Director, Johns Hopkins Vestibular NeuroEngineering Laboratory
  • Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Vestibular Clinical Testing Laboratory
  • Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD PhD; Biomedical Engineering; University of California San Francisco School of Medicine (1997)


  • Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2002)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (Neurotology) (2010)
  • American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (Otolaryngology) (2003)

Research & Publications


Lab Website: Vestibular NeuroEngineering Laboratory

Selected Publications

Most Recent NN Publications:

Johnson L, Della Santina CC, Wang X (2012) Temporal bone characterization and cochlear implant feasibility in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), Hearing Research 2012 May 11. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22583919

Ward BK, Agrawal Y, Nguyen E, Della Santina CC, Limb CJ, Francis HW, Minor LB, Carey JP (2012) Hearing outcomes following surgical plugging of the superior semicircular canal by a middle cranial fossa approach, Otol Neurotol ON-12-110R2 (in press)

Davidovics NS, Fridman GY, Della Santina CC, Co-modulation of stimulus rate and current from elevated baselines expands head motion encoding range of the vestibular prosthesis, Exp Brain Res. 2012 May; 218(3):389-400. Epub 2012 Feb 19. PubMed PMID: 22349559.

Rahman MA, Dai C, Fridman GY, Davidovics NS, Chiang B, Ahn JH, Hayden R, Melvin TAN, Sun DQ, Hedjoudje A, Della Santina CC (2011) Restoring the 3D vestibulo-ocular reflex via electrical stimulation: the Johns Hopkins Multichannel Vestibular Prosthesis Project, Conf Proc. IEEE-EMBC:3142-3145, doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090857

Sun DQ, Rahman MA, Fridman GY, Dai C, Chiang B, Della Santina CC (2011) Chronic stimulation of the semicircular canals using a multichannel vestibular prosthesis: Effects on locomotion and angular vestibulo-ocular reflex in chinchillas, Conf Proc IEEE-EMBC:3519-3523, doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090584

Roberts DC, Marcelli V, Gillen JS, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Zee DS, MRI magnetic field stimulates rotational sensors of the brain, Current Biology (2011) doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.029

Kawashima Y, Geleoc G, Kurim K, Labay V, Lelli A, Asai Y, Makishima T, Wu D, Della Santina C, Holt J, Griffith AJ, Mechanotransduction in Mouse Inner Ear Hair Cells Requires Transmembrane Channel-Like Genes 1 and 2 Journal of Clinical Investigation (2011) 121(12):4796-809. doi: 10.1172/JCI60405. Epub 2011 Nov 21. PubMed PMID: 22105175; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3223072.

Dai C, Fridman GY, Davidovics NS, Chiang B, Ahn JH, Della Santina CC, Restoration of 3D vestibular sensation in rhesus monkeys using a multichannel vestibular prosthesis, Hearing Research (2011) doi:10.1016/j.heares.2011.08.008

Gazquez I, Lopez-Escamez JA, Moreno A, Campbell CA, Meyer NC, Carey JP, Minor LB, Gantz BJ, Hansen MR, Della Santina CC, Aran I, Soto-Varela A, Santos S, Perez-Garrigues H, Smith R, Lopez-Nevot MA, Functional variants in NOS1 and NOS2A are not associated with progressive hearing loss in Mnires disease in a European Caucasian population, DNA and Cell Biology (in press 2011)

Hayden R, Sawyer S, Mori S, Migliaccio AA, Della Santina CC, Virtual Labyrinth model of vestibular afferent excitation via implanted electrodes Validation and application to design of a multichannel vestibular prosthesis, Experimental Brain Research Exp Brain Res. 2011 Mar 6. PMID: 21380738

Chiang B, Fridman GY, Dai C, Rahman MA, Della Santina CC, Design and performance of a multichannel vestibular prosthesis that restores semicircular canal sensation in macaques, IEEE Trans. Neural Systems and Rehab Engineering 2011 Oct;19(5):588-98. Epub 2011 Aug 18. PMID: 21859631

Kim KS, Minor LB, Della Santina CC, Lasker D, Variation in response dynamics of regular and irregular vestibular-nerve afferents during sinusoidal head rotations and currents in the chinchilla Experimental Brain Research 2011 May 210(3-4):643-9.Epub 2011 Mar 3. PubMed PMID: 21369854

Webb S, Grillet N, Andrade L, Xiong W, Swarthout L, Della Santina CC, Kachar B, Mueller U, Regulation of PCDH15 function in mechanosensory hair cells by alternative splicing of the cytoplasmic domain, Development 2011 Apr;138(8):1607-17

Dai C, Fridman GY, Chiang B, Davidovics NS, Melvin TA, Cullen KE, Della Santina CC, Cross-axis adaptation improves 3D vestibulo-ocular reflex alignment during chronic stimulation via a head-mounted multichannel vestibular prosthesis, Experimental Brain Research 2011 Mar 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Ushio M, Minor LB, Della Santina CC, Lasker DM, Unidirectional rotations produce asymmetric changes in horizontal VOR gain before and after unilateral labyrinthectomy in macaques, Experimental Brain Research 2011 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:21431432

Yakushin S, Kolesnikova O, Cohen B, Ogorodnikov D, Suzuki J-I, Della Santina CC, Minor LB, Raphan T, Complementary gain modifications of the cervico-ocular reflex (COR) and angular vestibulo-ocular reflexes after canal-plugging, Experimental Brain Research 2011 Feb 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Dai C, Fridman GY, Della Santina CC, Effects of vestibular prosthesis electrode implantation and stimulation on hearing in rhesus monkeys, Hearing Research 2010 Dec 31. [Epub ahead of print]

Migliaccio AA, Meierhofer R, Della Santina CC, Characterization of the 3D angular vestibulo-ocular reflex in C57BL6 mice, Experimental Brain Research 2010 Dec 29. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21190017

Migliaccio AA, Minor LB, Della Santina CC, Adaptation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex for forward-eyed foveate vision, Journal of Physiology (2010) Aug 19. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20724359

Della Santina CC, Migliaccio AA, Hayden R, Melvin TA, Fridman GY, Chiang B, Davidovics NS, Dai C, Carey JP, Minor LB, Anderson ICW, Park H, Lyford-Pike S, Tang S, Current and Future Management of Bilateral Loss of Vestibular Sensation An update on the Johns Hopkins Multichannel Vestibular Prosthesis Project, Cochlear Implants International 2010 Sept 11(s2): 2-11.

Agrawal Y, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Schubert MC, Minor LB, Diabetes, vestibular dysfunction and falls: Analyses from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Otology & Neurotology 2010 Sep 17. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 20856157.

Davidovics NS, Fridman GY, Chiang B, Della Santina CC, Effects of biphasic current pulse frequency, amplitude, duration and interphase gap on eye movement responses to prosthetic electrical stimulation of the vestibular nerve, IEEE Trans. Neural Systems and Rehab Eng. 2010 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20813652; [DOI10.1109/TNSRE.2010.2065241] print: 19(1):84-94.

Francis HW, Masood H, Chaudhry KN, Laeeq K, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Limb CJ, Niparko JK, Bhatti NI, Objective assessment of mastoidectomy skills in the operating room, Otology & Neurotology 2010 Jul;31(5):759-65. PMID: 20517169.

Fridman GY, Davidovics NS, Dai C, Migliaccio AA, Della Santina CC, Vestibulo-ocular reflex responses to a multichannel vestibular prosthesis incorporating a 3D coordinate transformation for correction of misalignment, JARO 2010 Sep;11(3):367-81. PMID: 20177732

Campbell CA, Della Santina CC, Meyer, Horning NC, Smith NB, Myrie OA, Stone EM, Fukushima K, Califano J, Carey JP, Hansen MR, Gantz BJ, Minor LB, Smith RJH. Polymorphisms in KCNE1 or KCNE3 are not associated with Mnire disease in the caucasian population, Am. J. Medical Genetics 2009 Dec 23;152A(1):67-74. [Epub] PubMed PMID: 20034061.

Nguyen KD, Minor LB, Della Santina CC, Carey JP. Vestibular function and vertigo control after intratympanic gentamicin for Mnire''s disease, Audiol Neurootol. 2009;14(6):361-72. Epub 2009 Nov 16. PubMed PMID: 19923806.

Muir GM, Brown JE, Carey JP, Hirvonen TP, Della Santina CC, Minor LB, Taube JS. Disruption of the head direction cell signal after occlusion of the semicircular canals in the freely moving chinchilla, J Neurosci. 2009 Nov 18;29(46):14521-33. PubMed PMID: 19923286.

Laeeq K, Bhatti NI, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Limb CJ, Niparko JK, Minor LB, Francis HW. Pilot testing of an assessment tool for competency in mastoidectomy, Laryngoscope. 2009 Nov 2;119(12):2402-2410. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19885831.

Crane BT, Minor LB, Della Santina CC, Carey JP. Middle ear exploration in patients with Mnire''s disease who have failed outpatient intratympanic gentamicin therapy, Otol Neurotol 2009 Aug;30(5):619-24. PubMed PMID: 19503016

Agrawal Y, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Schubert MC, Minor LB (2009) Disorders of balance and vestibular function in US adults: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004, Arch Intern Med. May 25;169(10):938-44. PubMed PMID: 19468085.

Newman-Toker DE, Sharma P, Chowdhury M, Clemons TM, Zee DS, Della Santina CC (2009) Penlight-Cover Test - A New Bedside Method to Unmask Nystagmus, J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19336432.

Yakushin SB, Tarasenko Y, Raphan T, Suzuki J-I, Della Santina CC, Minor LB, Cohen B (2009) Modification of the Cervico-ocular Reflex by Canal Plugging, Annals NY Acad. Sci. 1164:60-7. Published Online: May 21 2009 12:57PM DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.03775.x

Cohen B, Xiang Y, Yakushin SB, Kunin M, Raphan T, Minor LB, Della Santina CC (2009) Effect of canal plugging on quadrupedal locomotion in monkey, Annals NY Acad. Sci. 1164:89-96. Published Online: May 21 2009 12:57PM DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.03845.x

Nguyen KD, Minor LB, Della Santina CC, Carey JP (2009) Time course of repeated intratympanic gentamicin for Mnire''s disease. Laryngoscope. Apr;119(4):792-8. PubMed PMID: 19213044.

Melvin TN, Della Santina CC, Carey JP, Migliaccio AA (2008) Effects of cochlear implantation on vestibular function, Otology & Neurotology 2009 Jan;30(1):87-94

Schubert MC, Della Santina CC, Shelhamer M. (2008) Incremental angular vestibulo-ocular reflex adaptation to active head rotation, Exp Brain Res. 2008 Dec;191(4):435-46. PMID: 18712370

Tang S, Melvin TN, Della Santina CC (2008) Effects of semicircular canal electrode implantation on hearing in chichillas, Acta Otolaryngologica 2008 Jul 10:1-6. [Epub ahead of print]

Della Santina CC (2008) Cochleostomy placement and vestibular injury, Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 Jun;138(6):812-3

Activities & Honors


  • American Otological Society Clinician-Scientist Award
  • Robert Brny Society Young Scientist of the Year Award
  • American Neurotology Society Frank M. Nizer Lectureship
  • ENTER Foundation Award for Innovation in Otolaryngology
  • ENT-UK Gordon Smyth Lectureship
  • induction into the American Otological Society
  • standing membership on the National Institutes of Health AUD study section

Videos & Media

Play Video:

Pediatric Cochlear Implant: Sarah's Story

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Grand Rapids Mand One of the First to Receive 'Bionic Ear' (10/05/19)

Vertigo Knocks Millions off Their Feet, and Doctors Are Looking at Ear Implants to Relieve It, Scientific American (07/14/2015)

Good News for Cochlear Implant Users AARP (12/2017)

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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