John J. Shea, Jr., M.D. is the son of Ear, Nose and Throat specialist John J.
Shea, Sr., M.D. (1889-1952). Dr. Shea, Jr. attended Notre Dame, where he
graduated magna cum laude, and Harvard Medical School, where he graduated with
honors in 1947. He did his residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Infirmary in Boston and served in the United States Navy Medical Corps during
the Korean War.
Dr. Shea became interested in the treatment of hearing loss and went to Los
Angeles to study with Dr. Howard House in 1953 and to Vienna, Austria in 1954
to study at the University of Vienna. He performed the first successful
stapedectomy in May, 1956. The patient was a 54 year-old housewife who could
no longer hear even with a hearing aid. Dr. Shea removed the stapes, covered
the oval window opening with a vein graft removed from the back of the
patient's hand, and inserted a prosthesis to replace the diseased stapes
bone. The patient’s hearing was restored and she heard well for the rest of
her life. Dr. Shea has performed nearly 40,000 stapedectomies during his
career with recovery of hearing in more than 90%. His technique with very
little modification is now used all over the world.
Dr. Shea has pioneered numerous techniques in the treatment of hearing loss
and dizziness, developed many instruments and prostheses to restore hearing,
and worked to advance the knowledge and understanding of the treatment of ear
disease. He is a Clinical Professor in the Ear, Nose and Throat Departments
of the University of Tennessee, the University of Mississippi, the University
of North Carolina and Tulane University. He is a member of more than fifty
scientific societies and has received honorary doctorates from Christian
Brothers University and Rhodes College in Memphis and honorary fellowships
from the Australian and English Royal College of Surgeons.