B. Robert Peters, M.D.
Founder and President
Although I had talked of becoming a physician as young as 8 years of age, I found myself as a senior medical student in 1979 still undecided as to what kind. Orthopedic surgery had been my first choice, up until I spent a 1 month elective on the Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) service. Surgery of the head and neck, an area which contains more vital structures than any other part of the body, rerouted my interests toward this fascinating field.
During my subsequent 5 year otolaryngology surgical residency, I found myself most intrigued by the anatomy and intricacy of the ear and related structures. I was fortunate to be training with one of the pioneers in ear surgery, particularly cochlear implantation. Dr. Ed Maddox was the only investigator in the southwest implanting the first prototype single channel cochlear implant device in deaf children. Although the technology was itself fascinating, it was the children with hearing impairment, with whom I was privileged to work, that stole my heart. It was my introduction into the profound effects of hearing loss on the life of an individual, to which I decided to devote my life’s work.
After post-residency fellowship training in neurotology (specialized ear surgery) I established a private practice at Medical City Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Establishing a center of excellence in such a high-tech, pioneering surgical field where none existed before is a challenging task. It was not easy even convincing my own audiologists at the time that cochlear implants had a future in the treatment of hearing loss. My first cochlear implant surgery in private practice was in 1992, just 2 years after FDA approval for use in children. It was on a 7 year old girl who had recently lost all of her hearing from meningitis. Over the succeeding 3 years I performed an average of only one cochlear implant surgery a year. During that time we assembled a team of hearing specialists that are essential for optimal outcomes from this new technology. That team, for the most part, has been together ever since. The life changing benefits to our patients has been so dramatic that our cochlear implant program has grown to one of the largest in the US, implanting over 100 patients per year. This has enabled us to not only provide the highest quality treatment for hearing loss, but to participate in essential research that advances the field even further.
It became evident early in the experience of our cochlear implant team that the expense of providing such miraculous technology to the average patient was beyond the financial means of most families. The Dallas Hearing Foundation (DHF) was established in 1997 to bridge this financial gap. It has been our goal to find a way to provide treatment for hearing loss to any individual who is in need. In the process, we have brought together an amazing group of passionate staff and volunteers, all of whom have a common goal.
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