What is an Otologist?


Otology and neurotology are names for the medical and surgical specialty focusing on disorders of the ear, hearing, and balance.

My name is Dr. Jon Isaacson, that is what I do, and ears are what I specialize in. When I am in the office, I evaluate adult patients with problems like ear pain, ear infections, ear drum perforations, hearing loss, tinnitus, and dizziness. Some of these problems are straight forward and can be treated in one or two visits. Some are complex, and require further testing. Patients may require hearing testing, balance testing, and sometimes imaging like CT or MRI. This can be a lengthy process.

When I am in the operating room, I am trying to improve lives with surgery. I may be improving someone’s hearing, repairing a torn ear drum, or removing a tumor. One of the most rewarding procedures that I do is place a cochlear implant into the ear with severe to profound hearing loss. People receiving implants often regain a large portion of their hearing. This can be life changing, and it is one of the most special things that I do.  If you have issues with your ears, and want to see an expert, then you may want to see me.

Ears are all I do.


What is an Audiologist?


What is an Audiologist?

“What?” This is the usual response I get when I tell people that I am an audiologist.  I spend my days helping people who have difficulty hearing, and often they didn’t catch what I said.  Sometimes a joker will cup their hand around their ear and say, “What?’, and I hate to admit that I still fall for it.  For the most part, people do not know what audiologists do.

If you have any difficulty hearing, it would be appropriate to see an audiologist. Almost every hearing loss can be helped in some way, and seeing an audiologist is the first step you need to take to ensure proper treatment.

The profession of Audiology is dedicated to the diagnosis and non-medical management of hearing loss. We use specialized equipment to accurately measure hearing, as well as figure out which part of the ear is causing the problem.  We prescribe and fit the latest hearing aid technology and work with Cochlear Implants and other implantable devices.  Audiologists refer patients to physicians when a hearing problem needs medical or surgical evaluation.  We also try to prevent hearing loss with hearing protection.  We identify young babies early who need hearing aids and cochlear implants so they can grow up with speech and spoken language.

A doctoral degree or Au.D. is required to enter the field. Becoming a Doctor of Audiology requires four years of graduate study after college in an accredited university.  Some audiologists have Master’s degrees (M.S. or M.A.), which was the entry-level degree for the profession.  Audiologists must be licensed by their state and are required to keep up with new developments.

Audiology is a relatively new profession. It began after WWII through the VA system when many veterans returned home from the war with hearing loss.  Job-outlook statistics forecast “must faster than average” growth in demand for audiologists.  This means that there aren’t enough of us!  Recent rankings consistently list audiology in the top 5 careers for highest work satisfaction, job opportunities, and low stress. It is a great field for young people to consider with jobs in hospitals, medical offices, audiology practices, schools, universities, and industrial and military settings.

We work with people of all ages, from one day old to 100 years old. The oldest patient I have seen was 102 until last week when I saw a 103 year old.  Every day at work I know that I have made a difference in someone’s life.  I love being an audiologist!

Helen Keller was asked whether it was worse to be without sight or without hearing and famously replied, “Blindness separates me from things. Deafness separates me from people.”

Sara Barron, Au.D.




Welcome to our blog!  We would like to start off by introducing ourselves.  We are Associated Otolaryngologists of PA or AOP for short.  We started back in 1999 with three earnest doctors, highly regarded by their peers in their chosen sub-specialties of ENT medicine and surgery.  We now have grown to six physicians, two physician assistants, one speech pathologist, and six audiologists, with two offices in the Greater Harrisburg area.

The audiologists have decided to forge their own identity as the Audiologists and Hearing Aid Professionals of AOP, while remaining an integral part of the medical practice.  Our group is lead by the region’s premier ear specialist, Dr. Jon Isaacson, who completed two clinical fellowships in ear related medicine and surgery.  He works alongside with six accomplished and passionate Doctors of Audiology; Erica Colt, AuD, Kathryn McNamara, AuD, Cathy Swenson, AuD, Sara Barron, AuD, Sandy Rabin, AuD, and Michelle Tewell, AuD.   These professionals form the core of our group by providing extensive diagnostic testing, amplification fittings, and support for all of Dr. Isaacson’s surgical implant patients.  They also support the practices of all the other doctors and physician assistants as well, including the pediatric practice of Dr. Shapiro.

All of the information posted on this site is for anyone interested in learning more about their ears and their hearing.  We will periodically cover medical and surgical issues, as well as social issues, and occasional information that we just think is fun or interesting.

Be sure to stay tuned while we inform and educate the interested public.  Thank you for visiting, and remember that we are total hearing healthcare that you can trust!